By Adam Knorr
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – For the Alfree family, few activities create more bonding opportunities than golf.
Scott Alfree, the girls golf coach at Western Michigan Christian, grew up learning the game from his father. Scott went on to play golf at Calvin College before coaching at WMC.
Now his daughter is taking a similar route.
Abbie Alfree, a senior at WMC, started playing golf with her dad at a young age, and had the same type of experience that her father had with his dad. It didn’t take long for her father to realize that Abbie had talent worth nurturing.
“When she was about 9 or 10, she evidenced a really good disposition for golf,” Scott Alfree said. “You have to have a mindset to play well and you have to play focused for a long time. She showed that at 9 or 10.”
Alfree has lived up to her dad’s expectations, qualifying for the Division 4 state finals each of the past two years and finishing 12th at state last season.
She won the individual title at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Tournament in 2013 and finished third this season.
Now Alfree is getting ready for her final shot at high school golf glory. She and her Warrior teammates will compete in the Division 4 regional tournament Wednesday at Mistwood Golf Course in Lake Ann.
A top three individual finish at regionals would send Alfree to the state finals for the third straight season.
“I definitely want to make it to state and get a top 10 finish,” she said.
Although many young children learn golf via their parents, the relationship between Abbie and Scott is a touch different than most. With Scott coaching Abbie’s team at
WMC, the father and daughter spend a lot of time in close proximity on various golf courses.
That arrangement might be a bit much for a lot of dads and teen daughters, but it works well for the Alfrees. Usually.
“Mostly I love it,” Abbie said. “It’s great to have him there with every step and it’s cool that he can see me do some cool things.”
“I can get frustrated pretty easily, but he’s taught me everything I know.”
In years past, Abbie had a fairly strong supporting cast on her high school golf team. Last spring, however, WMC graduated four of its top six golfers.
The Warriors are a young squad this year, but that has given Abbie a chance to develop as a team leader.
Scott Alfree says that Abbie has taken the opportunity head-on, applying herself each day in practice to improve her own game and assist her younger teammates.
After all, teaching is the best way to learn.
“It’s been super rewarding,” Abbie said. “Going into it I was not too happy about it because a lot of my friends were on the team before. But now I can positively impact the younger girls and it’s been awesome to see the huge steps they take.”
Sophomore Emily Kempster will be the only other Warrior competing at regionals alongside Abbie.
Abbie obviously has high hopes for the next few weeks, and her final chance to test her skills against other top high school golfers in the state.
Her dad will be pulling for her, of course, but the outcome is not so crucial to him.
Regardless of her final scores, Scott’s pride over Abbie’s accomplishments is deep and permanent.
“It’s great that she good, but I honestly couldn’t care less about the skill,” he said. “She’s grown in her appreciation of the game and I think that’s one of her greatest accomplishments.
“Our greatest days are when the family goes out on the course.”
Abbie is undecided on her college plans, but is considering continuing the Alfree tradition and heading to Calvin College to play golf.