WINNETKA — New Trier’s Louise McCulloch approached every hole at the Winnetka Golf Club on Thursday the same way. Three steps back. Pause. Three steps forward. A lift of her club.
Then … SMACK.
The routine is somewhat new to her, since she’s only been golfing for two-and-a-half years. But it hasn’t taken long for her to find success. This year, McCulloch is a junior captain on New Trier’s girls golf team. In August at New Trier’s quad tournament she shot a 75 — the lowest score in the event’s history.
As a sophomore, McCulloch snagged the last spot on the varsity squad and hasn’t slowed down since.
“She’s had a great year,” coach Scott Fricke said. “She was our No. 6 golfer last year, shooting in the low 90s, high 80s. And then at state she had a breakout. She shot 78 and it really motivated her to work hard.”
McCulloch played a vast array of sports growing up including lacrosse, swimming and soccer. But once she swung her first club in the eighth grade, she dropped everything else to get better.
“Golf was just different. I fell in love with it, I can’t explain it,” McCulloch said. “It was exciting to try something new. And I was not very good right when I started, but I was happy that there was room for improvement.”
She now has her eyes set on playing in college. She doesn’t care where. The only requirement she has for her higher education plan is attending a school that will let her golf. Though, she says, she has work to do before snagging a scholarship.
“I know I have to get a little closer to scratch golfer, like par 72 more consistently,” she said. “But my goal is to get there.”
In New Trier’s 169-192 win over Lake Forest on Thursday, McCulloch was the medalist after shooting a 40. The next closest golfer was New Trier’s Becca Lindblad with a 42.
“There were definitely some shots that I wish I had gone back and redone, but there’s nothing I can do about it now,” McCulloch said. “It was a good round. It can always be worse, it can always be better.”
This season, McCulloch and the Trevians are trying to better the team’s fourth-place finish in the Class AA state tournament a year ago.
McCulloch said the team is hitting all the right cylinders at the right time. As New Trier nears the tail end of the season, Scott said his golfers are figuring out what they need to improve down the stretch. McCulloch said she is hoping to imitate the same run she had in the state tournament last year, only now as a junior captain.