Coleman ends WHS career
In any athletic endeavor, the goal is to get better, and that becomes the foundation for future success.
Senior Leah Coleman is the embodiment of that principle. She has been a member of the Whitehall golf team for four years, and when she first suited up her freshman season, she played in just two matches, splitting time between field hockey and the links. Her average that first year was 125.
She played both sports through her sophomore season, but eventually decided to concentrate on golf.
“I just saw golf as a better opportunity for me,” said Coleman.
She kept working on her game, and that drive and commitment led her to become the team’s No. 1 golfer her senior season. Her average this season was 85.
Coleman shaved a remarkable 40 strokes off her average in those four years. She came a long way in a short period of time, and that’s a testament to her willingness to put in the work and get better.
She said she really began to see results once she got her driver’s license, allowing her to get to the course on her own where she would practice as often as she could. She also benefited from lessons taken with Danny Richie at Willow Brook Golf Course.
“He just helps me so much,” said Coleman.
She was introduced to the game by her father when she was 10-years-old. She said that every year they hold a family tournament in July in memory of her late uncle, something they’ve been doing for thirty years, and that tradition started her on the path to becoming Whitehall’s top player for 2018. Those early years playing with her family formed a strong connection to the game.
“So just being able to do the same thing as my cousins was such a bonding experience with everyone and really got me into the game,” said Coleman.
She said that she and her father played about once or twice a week. She also hits the course on her own, constantly trying to improve her game.
Coleman’s hard work has produced results on the course where she was named the Coordinated Health Athlete of the Week this season, a distinction she won the last week of August.
The whole season Coleman shot in the 80s. She’s established herself as the team’s most consistent golfer, and was hoping to make it to the regional round following the district tournament at Lehigh Country Club.
But as anyone who’s picked up a club knows, your game can suddenly disappear, the ephemeral nature of the game that vexes both amateurs and pros alike.
She struggled to find her swing in both the league and district tourneys, shooting a 100 in the EPC Golf Championships. and a 96 in the District XI AAA Championship.
“I just went though a rough patch with all of my shots, from my drive to my short game, and I tried to work through it,” said Coleman.
As she was playing in the postseason, she reminded herself that it can’t always be like this, and she just had to work through it.
“I was hitting good shots so recently that they have to be in there somewhere, I just have to work harder to find them again,” said Coleman.
She just missed the cut at districts on Oct. 8, ending her golf career at Whitehall.
Coleman also dances, pursing that discipline with the same level of commitment she puts into golf. She performs as a member of Extreme Dance Studio in Nazareth, something that also involves a lot of time and energy.
Coleman, who now has three other female teammates, was the lone girl on the squad early in her career. She said that playing with the boys can be intimidating at times because they hit the ball much farther than she can, but that also forces her to hone other aspects of her game.
“I just really have to work on my short game to compensate for it,” said Coleman.
Coleman is among a strong group of female golfers in the EPC. She said that you can learn a lot from your fellow competitors because everyone has a different swing, and if it works for them, it might work for you.
Coleman said that she’ll still golf recreationally, but if she continues her career in college, it would most likely be a spur-of-the-moment decision.