GREEN RIVER — Isabell Salas, 17, a senior at Green River High School, spent time over the summer competing in golf competitions against other top-notch, high-school golfers from across the United States.
In July 7-12 Salas represented GRHS at the National High School Golf Invitational in Frisco, TX and then on July 21-27 she competed in the Girls’ Junior America’s Cup in British Columbia.
“This is not her first time competing” in high school golf outside Wyoming, Salas’s coach Karly Eyre said.
“I’ve been competing in golf since I was 6 years old,” Salas said. She explained that the most difficult aspect of golf for her is keeping her head focused on the task at hand. “It’s the mental game,” Salas said.
Salas is part of the GRHS Wolves’ girls golf team. She said that if she is playing golf by herself at the Rolling Green Country Club just west of Green River, she can wrap up 18 holes in about 45 minutes.
However, if she is in a group of four other golfers it can take her 4.5-7 hours to complete the course. The 18 different holes are weighted 1-18, with the hardest hole being near the “big ditch”.
Her stiffest competition?
Herself, Salas said.
“It’s a one-person competition,” Eyre said. Sometimes golfers like Isabell can “play themselves” so intensely, always trying to be perfect, that the game gets inside their heads, Eyre added. “But the hardest holes seem to play to Isabell’s strengths.”
To illustrate the mental game, Eyre said that there was an occasion where Salas was overly intense and above par, and when she let herself calm down she went back below par for the remaining holes and finished even.
Playing in Wyoming weather is part of the job for Isabell. “The only thing we stop for is lightning,” Salas said. “I’ve played in both rain and snow.”
Salas competes in GRHS golf during both seasons. There is a fall season, with culminating conference and state competitions in revolving sites around the state, and a spring season for high school golf, in which there is competition but no culminating state event.
So far, Salas said she is entertaining athletic scholarship offers from four different Division 1 collegiate golf programs to continue her golfing competition once she graduates from high school.
“But even if Isabell doesn’t (end) up competing in collegiate golf, she’ll still be well-set,” Eyre said. “She has a full-ride scholarship offer from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).”
That mathematical and engineering mind within her can’t help but assist with her golf game, as Salas applies computer-like calculations to any and every golf course and golf hole she encounters.