LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sydney Shouse was playing soccer and golf at Pleasure Ridge Park High School as a freshman and sophomore before deciding to focus on golf this year.
And the move came with pretty stunning results.
"I was averaging about 120," Shouse said rather matter-of-factly. "That's what I shot at the regional last year. This year, I shot 83."
That 83 made Shouse one of 20 girls and boys to qualify for this week's State Tournaments in Bowling Green who have honed their games with Cory Kaufman and his team at the Golf Academy at Persimmon Ridge. Kaufman and the other four instructors that make up the team focus on a team concept, working with players of all ages and skill levels.
"We want it to be fun, even with our older kids," Kaufman said. "It's still a game, and we want to have fun at work too. So they'll come in, 'Hey, we just want to see if they like it.' And we have some that say 'Hey, we want to play in college.' And then I have some that say 'I'm not really sure if I want to play in high school. I may want to try out next year.' So we have different groups for everybody."
Emily Warner, a senior at Sacred Heart Academy playing in her third state tournament, has committed to play college golf at Centre College. She's a fan of Kaufman's teaching methods.
"The way he's able to connect with everybody and how he can relate to our different personalities especially on and off the course, he's just someone that's always there," Warner said. "You can always text him or just for advice before a tournament."
Kaufman, a former St. Xavier High School and Bellarmine University golfer who played professionally, is also a big proponent of playing multiple sports, something that he ties into his teaching, like soccer with Shouse.
"If you're out there shooting a (penalty kick), you have to get your weight distributed forward," Shouse said. "That's the same thing in a golf swing. If you can't get your weight distributed forward, then you're just going to hang back on it and not hit it as solid."
The academy doesn't promise the kind of dramatic improvement seen in Shouse, but they do get results, claiming over 200 Division I athletes, including the recent Kentucky State Amateur champion, UK sophomore Alex Goff, and professional success, like Louisville's Jared Wolfe, a two-time winner this year on the PGA Korn Ferry Tour.
They're hoping for more wins this week in Bowling Green, and they got one Wednesday when the Trinity High School team they work with won the boys state team title for the first time since 2003.
The girls tournament starts Friday.
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