Berryville golfers staying busy during the summer

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Berryville's McKayla Hussey (left) and Anna Caroline Stone pose for a photo at the Carroll County Country Club.
Tavi Ellis / Carroll County News

Golf is something that most people do for fun, but for Berryville golfers Anna Caroline Stone and McKayla Hussey, it has turned into a full time job. Stone and Hussey have spent countless hours at the Carroll County Country Club throughout the summer and after scoring high enough in the four Arkansas junior PGA events, they have qualified to play in the state tournament at The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood on Thursday.

"Playing in these non-school events and playing at different courses have helped them get better," Berryville volunteer coach Jamie Hussey said. "By playing with better competition and with people they don't normally play with has helped them. Just the fact that they are getting more reps in has made them a lot better, but they have both progressed."

McKayla Hussey said she has stayed busy practicing throughout the summer, practicing up to seven days a week, but she has been enjoying it.

"Sometimes we will hit balls and practice our short game or we will play nine holes and see where we are at," McKayla Hussey said.

Hussey is going into her junior year at Berryville and Stone will just be a sophomore. Each golfer is hoping to continue this in college.

"Right now we could both play at a division two college," Hussey said. "As we continue getting better, we could probably look at a lower tier division one school."

As a sophomore, Stone is very excited about her opportunity.

"It's pretty cool," Stone said. "Knowing that I'm a sophomore and I have a chance to further my education with this."

Jamie Hussey said getting a Division I scholarship isn't out of reach, although he added that it's not necessary to get a Division I scholarship.

"Somewhere around 72-78 is when you are going to get looked at by Division I schools," Jamie Hussey said. "Division II, all the way up to 90. They will take you. And community colleges, they will take you shooting in the 90s all the way up to breaking 100. The thing is, though, you don't necessarily have to go Division I to be good at golf. There are as many LPGA pros that come from Division II as they do Division I.

Each player said she has something to work on in order to further her golf game. For Stone, it's her short game and for McKayla Hussey, it's her temperament. She said she learns from watching professionals on the PGA Tour how to deal with issues like that.

"Sometimes you will see when they are chipping, they have little tricks on how to do things," McKayla Hussey said. "You see how slow their swing is so you can imitate it."

Stone doesn't watch as much golf as Hussey, but she has learned some things from the professionals as well.

"They keep their confidence up all the time," Stone said. "That is something you need to do if you want to be a good golfer."

Hussey said her father, Jamie, has had a tremendous influence on her golf game.

"He helps by making me over-exaggerate things and get it to where it's not so hard to do something," McKayla Hussey said. "When I'm swinging and I keep hitting a slice, he makes me over-exaggerate a tip to where it won't be so hard to think about it and I can hit the ball straight."

Stone looks forward to continuing her progress.

"It's important to keep coming out here and practicing every day," Stone said. "Playing with different people, like this Thursday night league we play in and a Tuesday morning league and other tournaments."

Neither golfer has played The Greens at North Hills, but McKayla Hussey believes it will be a course that serves her game well.

"It will probably be a lot like the Maumelle course that we played for high school state," McKayla Hussey said. "The greens will probably be really fast, but the fairways will be open. I think that's an advantage because we have played a wide variety of greens throughout the summer and it shouldn't be hard to adapt."

Stone also likes those types of courses.

"I like the open because you need to stay out of the water," Stone said. "Water can get you in trouble."

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