This isn’t some act. Far from it, actually.
Madi Daniel truly loves the game of golf. It’s what she does — when she has to, and when she doesn’t.
That work ethic, love for the game, and true talent, have positioned her to what she is today: One of the top golfers in the state, who graduated in three-and-a-half years from Bakersfield Christian, and is set to attend University of Oregon in less than a month as a Division I women’s golfer.
She’s also been named 2017 BVarsity All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year for her accomplishments.
“I just love to play. I can’t help it. There’s not anything I’d rather do than to play golf,” Daniel said. “Tournaments, on the weekends, whenever. I really hope that shows on the course.”
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What separates Daniel is the sheer length on her shot. While she said she’s comfortable hitting virtually any shot on a golf course, she averages about 280 yards out of the tee box.
After tearing through the 2017 regular season, Daniel took home the Central Section championship in October with a 3-under-par 69 at River Island Country Club in Porterville.
“I’ve put hours upon hours into this game,” she said. “There was a time earlier in my high school career where I would hit on the range for hours at a time. I wouldn’t even go out on the course. My game wasn’t where I wanted it to be….Calluses on my hands, sweating out there in the summertime. All day.”
Through it all, she’s kept an aura of sincerity on and off the course. While Daniel is a tenacious competitor, she’s also well-mannered and someone players of all skill levels seem to enjoy playing with.
“Besides the fact she’s a great player, she’s a sweet and very nice girl,” said Adrien Rosales, an assistant golf professional at Stockdale Country Club. “She’s a really close friend. Her game is so good, it can be really intimidating to watch. But when you spend with time her, when you befriend her, you realize she’s just an ordinary and friendly person.”
After completing her final exams last week, Daniel celebrated the holidays in town. Immediately following New Years, she said, her and her family will drive to Eugene, Ore., where Daniel will begin classes at University of Oregon on Jan. 8.
The Ducks are an established Pac-12 women’s golf program that has challenged for the national championship in past years.
“There is no doubt she has had some great tournament finishes and scores this year, but we believe her best golf is still ahead of her,” Oregon coach Ria Scott wrote in an email. “We are excited to have a front row seat to her college career.”
For her part, Daniel looks to bring her work ethic — and ability — to the collegiate level, and quite possibly beyond.
“I’d like to play professional golf. If I had the opportunity, I’d definitely go for it,” she said. “Just get through these couple years in college and go from there. College golf tells you a helluva lot, if you can play at the next level or not.”