pointers from Dad.
Bob McKeo w n
Erica Zonder surprised
the all-male golf team
when she tried out
at North Farmington High
Jewish News Intern
Erica Zonder gets in some indoor practice.
ixteen-year-old Erica Zonder
is in a truly enviable position.
She is the only girl on the
North Farmington High
School golf team — a team
which North Farmington originally
intended for boys. Those boys certainly
were surprised when Erica, then an
incoming freshman, showed up for
tryouts. They were even more sur-
prised when she beat them! Erica was
one of the 15 best out of the 40 or so
boys who tried out, thus starting her
high school golfing career.
As a freshman, Erica was consid-
ered a "cute" junior varsity addition to
the team, because she wasn't a threat
yet, having played in less than five
varsity matches. But when she played
in 19 varsity matches during her
sophomore year, the boys didn't think
she was cute anymore. At times there
was friction for the girl on the golf
team. Her victories caused a little em-
barrassment for the boys; but Erica
said she feels golfing on the boys team
gave her an advantage with other
Erica carries a 12 handicap, av-
eraging 82 from the women's tees and
85 from the men's.
Because the boys' courses are
longer than the girls', Erica had de-
veloped more stamina than many of
her female competitors. She also had
more experience with metal clubs
(they're for longer distances) than a lot
of the girls. These advantages, she
said, contributed to her selection to the
All-State team, and she was named
one of the 15 best female high school
golfers in Michigan. Other people rec-
ognized Erica's talent and eventually,
her teammates began to appreciate
and value her skill as a golfer.
When asked how long she's played
golf, Erica let out a laugh and said,
"forever." Erica doesn't even re-
member when she first played, but
figures she must have been 6 or 7.
"I have these little golf clubs my
dad got for us (her brother, Jeff, and
herself) . . . they've got like ten inches
cut off them. I was pretty short so I
must have been pretty young." Erica's
family has always been supportive of
her golfing, even when Erica didn't
enjoy it. "We used to golf on Sundays,
the whole family; I would hit, walk, hit
and cry because I wasn't having any
Erica said her attitude toward golf
changed and her family has continued
their wholehearted support. That may
mean practicing with Dad, being
chauffeured by Mom, or being con-
gratulated on a job well done by her
Her family is also financially re-
sponsible for her golfing. That enabled
her to compete on a regional tour this
summer. Erica placed highly enough
on the regional tour to qualify for the
national tour this winter. A recent
elbow injury, however, will prevent
her from competing.
Some of Erica's other past tour-
namerts include: the 1986 Optimists
Junior World state tournament, in
which she placed third; the Big I tour-
nament, in which she took first in the
local qualifier and third in the state;
and the World Series Junior Golf
match at which she won first place.
Her two favorite tournaments were
The ObserverlEccentric event in which
she was championship flight runner-
up, and the Oakland University
Ladies' Club championship that she
won. She liked these best because of
her low (and therefore good) scores.
She is also very proud of a team
medal won by North Farmington in
the Country Day Invitational. Erica's
team took first by seven shots. She
personally placed 11th out of 50 boys.
"That is quite an accomplishment,"
Erica is definitely a _talented
golfer. She works hard for her success.
During the summer Erica practices
every day. Sometimes she hits buckets
of balls, sometimes she plays a course.
Usually she does both. Michigan
weather affects her practicing in
winter and in summer. Although this
past summer was a very wet one, Erica
said she thought the rain had a good
effect on her game. "Now playing in
the rain doesn't faze me." Winter is a
little more of a problem. When courses
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