Greenville senior excelling on the golf course

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:32 am on Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greenville’s Britta Bernth sinks a long putt during a match last year at The Links at Bowen Lake. Bernth just set a school record 33 on the back nine of the same course.

GREENVILLE — Greenville senior golfer Britta Bernth wants to win everything.

A summer of tournament golf and a scorching start to the season has given Bernth the confidence she can do just that.

“Coming into the season I wanted to win conference,” Bernth said. “I’ve been practicing all summer and played in tons of tournaments. Playing in those tournaments was different than high school golf, but I was coming in with high expectations.”

Playing this summer, Bernth’s competition included college golfers and some of the best high school golfers in the state. The experience gained this summer carried over to the high school season and has created much motivation.

“I played really well in Traverse City and I think that gave me a lot of motivation for the season,” Bernth said. “I realized I could aspire much higher than I thought I could. At first, my goals were to win conference and do well at regionals and state. Now I want to win it all.”

Bernth shot a low 18-hole round of 73 at Spruce Run at the Grand Traverse Resort.

Really, it was a simple quote that changed her style of play. Over the summer she was told, “Drive for show, putt for dough.”

“I was always a big hitter. I think the biggest change was from being involved on the driving range to spending time on the green,” Bernth said. “I spent hours and hours putting and chipping. I think that has helped going from the low 80s to the 70s.”

Bernth finishes a practice shot during a round last year. She is averaging 39.4 per nine holes this season.

Bernth’s average for 18-holes is 78.6. Her nine-hole average is 39.4, which includes a school record 33 on the back nine at The Links at Bowen Lake last week.

Starting the record setting round, Bernth had her attention focused on the three par 5s.

“I play Bowen a lot. It’s my home course and I’m always out there,” Bernth said. “On the par 5s, if I get a good drive out in the middle, I’m less than 150 yards in. If I could get that second shot on the green I’m putting for eagle and I was putting for eagle on all three.”

During the summer golfing season, Bernth was constantly hitting from 150 in on par 4s and not par 5s. That has helped her transition to an elite level this year.

“I didn’t think I had broke the record,” Bernth said. “I knew the record was Megan Cushman’s and Jenny Calkins. They are both extremely good golfers. It was shocking.”

Bernth earned Division 2 all-state honors as a sophomore and Division 2 honorable mention last year. This year she is on her way to possibly making the Super Team, which consists of the best golfers of any division.

“She is having a great year and is so dedicated to the team and to herself,” Greenville coach Nancy Johnson said. “I can’t say enough positive things about Britta. She is a girl any coach would be excited and proud to have on their team.”

In addition to winning this year, Bernth wants to play golf collegiately next year and will.

“It’s been a goal of mine since I’ve been a freshman when my sister (Breezy) played at Ferris State,” Bernth said. “I’ve been looking a lot at out of state schools, especially in Florida.”

She wants to go south so she can golf year round outdoors.

Bernth credits her sister with helping the mental aspect of her game this summer.

“The thing she (Breezy) helped me with was how they play golf in college. It is really different,” Bernth said. “She helped me out with the mental aspect of the game. Letting the emotional stuff go and staying confident in my game.”

As for the team, the Yellow Jackets are in danger of finishing second in the conference behind Forest Hills Eastern. It’s been a long time since they have not finished No. 1.

“It’s been weird not to be No. 1 in the conference all the time,” Bernth said. “Last week we all talked about it. We might not win conference, but lets finish with pride and as hard as we can.”

As much as Bernth likes setting records, her drive is for the team to succeed.

“Breaking records is good for me, but to be a team and a good team is really what I want,” Bernth said.

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