Michigan women’s golf co-captain Amy Schmucker has led her team at both tournaments this season. But the senior’s success might seem mysterious to some.
The first week, she tied for seventh with a four-over par 220 at the Lady Northern Tournament and placed 11th with a 224 54-hole total at the Mary Fossum Invitational at Forest Akers West Course the weekend before.
“Finishing within the top 15 at these tournaments is something to be really proud of” Michigan coach Kathy Teichert said.
Schmucker’s first two years as a Wolverine were difficult – she wasn’t playing her best and knew it. But Schmucker has been improving consistently: During freshman year she averaged 79.17, and improved just slightly sophomore year, averaging 78.39. Last year she averaged 77.42.
“I was used to going to my golf pro for a quick tune-up, but when I played here I had to work on my swing and stance by myself,” Schmucker said. “I let the little shots get in the way but I learned to adopt a positive outlook and push the bad thoughts out.”
Perhaps she finds comfort in some of her newly developed superstitions. For example, Schmucker always carries four tees in her pocket; two small and two tall. She also marks her ball with a Canadian quarter, bear-side facing up.
“The tees are a practical thing,” Schmucker said. “I always want to have an extra one in my pocket just in case one breaks.”
But the quarter ritual began during a tournament when a Canadian teammate offered a Canadian coin to make her mark. The tournament turned out to be one of Schmucker’s better performances, and the next time she used it, she did well again. Another of her strange superstitions includes not eating any seafood before a tournament. Schmucker maintains a no pre-match seafood policy because she went to a seafood restaurant with her family before two different rounds and did horribly during both.
“My dad was joking around and said that I didn’t do well because of the seafood.” Schmucker said.
Since then, seafood has been off the menu for pre-tournament gatherings.
These habits may seem peculiar, but to Schmucker, they are confidence-boosters.
Most importantly, it has been Schmucker’s hard work, dedication and passion for golf that have carried her along.
“All of my experiences led me to where I am now,” Schmucker said. “I really struggled during my first two years.”
After a summer of working on her mental game, Schmucker has made some major improvements.
“Amy has really stepped up her game,” Teichert said. “She keeps her high confidence and is able to score even when she’s not hitting the ball as well as she would have liked to. When she doesn’t hit the ball well, she stays focused and grinds it out.”
It takes both physical and mental abilities to be a great golfer.
“Golf is an extremely mental game and to be a successful player, you have to be mentally strong” Schmucker said. “It is also important to maintain composure and not get frustrated with previous shots. If you believe you can hit it, you’ll make it. But if you’re not focused, you can hit way off the lead.”
With fortune on her side and an improved mental game, Schmucker has become an integral part of the Wolverines’ roster.