By Rubin E. Grant
At the outset of her athletic career, Carson McKie figured she would follow in the footsteps of her older sisters and play soccer.
Chelsea and Conner McKie both played soc- cer at Hoover High School and in college, Chelsea at Furman and Conner at Southern Miss.
But Carson McKie had just one issue. She wasn’t as good at soccer as her sisters, so she had to find something else to play.
She gravitated to golf.
“I wasn’t improving in soccer,” McKie said. “My dad always said I had a natural golf swing. So, I went to the practice range and learned to love it.”
That was seven years ago, and her affection for golf has only grown.
“I love everything about it, the competition, the course management and all the friends I’ve made from playing golf,” she said.
Now, a Hoover senior, McKie is one of the leading contenders for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A individual title.
She had a great month on the golf course in April. She was low medalist in the Hike Hills tournament, hosted by Vestavia Hills at Highland Park, the Hazel Green Invitational at Hampton Cove in Huntsville and the Hoover Invitational at Timberline in Calera.
McKie has played varsity golf for the Buccaneers since the eighth grade, when Hoover won the 2014 Class 6A state championship. She was a fresh- man when the Bucs captured the Class 7A title the following year.
“Carson is a workhorse,” Hoover golf coach Lori Elgin said. “She works on her golf game every day. I’ve always been able to count on her.”
McKie spends countless hours practicing.
“I think the best part of my game is the short game,” McKie said. “My putting is not on right now, but I am working on it. My fairways are pretty good.”
Golfing for a Title
McKie believes the Bucs can claim another team title this spring after finishing as Class 7A runners-up the past two years. She is joined as the Bucs’ top foursome by eight-grad- er Neysa Dechachutinan, junior Emily Baker and senior Danielle Buompastore. Senior Helen Lunsford and freshman Julia Freeman will compete in the postseason as individ- uals.
“I feel we have a good chance to win it,” McKie said. “Every one of us has improved our golf game and we really support each other.”
Hoover played in the Class 7A, Section 3 tournament on Monday at Highland. The sub-state is set for May 7 at Timberline and the state tourna- ment is May 14-15 at Muscle Shoals.
McKie has signed to play golf in college at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
“I was kind of waiting around, looking at colleges,” McKie said. “Lee actually reached out to me. I had never heard of it before. But after I visited it and met the coaches and the team, I decided it was the perfect place for me.”
Lee golf coach John Maupin was glad to land McKie.
“Carson has played on a very good high school team and competed in some strong junior tournaments and has a proven ability to shoot low scores,” Maupin said at the time of her signing. “She has a strong work ethic, combined with great athleti- cism, and we were really impressed with her game when we got to watch her play.”
McKie also aspires to play on the LPGA tour one day. Her favorite golf- er is Lexi Thompson.
“I love her spirit and the way she plays,” McKie said. “She finishes with a smile, even on a bad day. That’s how I want to be.” ❖