Golf Star

Junior finds her passion at Millard West


photo by Hannah Olafson

Izzabelle Puk swinging her club.

Hannah Olafson, Staff Writer

Shuffling her feet on the short green grass and eyed the tiny hole hundreds of feet away, junior Izzabelle Puk brought her eyes back to the golf ball. She moved her arms back with her club in hand and swung, striking the ball perfectly sending it flying through the air.

Izzabelle Puk found her passion for golf when she was 10 years old after her father got a membership at Oak Hills Country Club. Eventually, her dad John Puk, encouraged his daughter to give the sport a try. The coaches then told her parents that she has a natural swing and could be superb at it if she puts forth the work.

“Being able to put a medal around my neck is one of the most amazing feelings,” Izzabelle Puk said. “It’s difficult, but it’s so much fun when you actually play well. That’s one of the main reasons why I love it so much.”

Izzabelle Puk started as number one on the varsity golf team coming in her freshman year. She also blew away all the competitors at the Lincoln Pius X invite this past season when she won first place for Millard West. She had also won quite a few tournaments over the summer, in Council Bluffs, Table Creek and Sunset Valley.

However, winning doesn’t come easy for Izzabelle Puk. She often spends majority of her summer practicing and preparing for the next season. Throughout the school year,  she practices everyday after school and misses about one day of school per week for tournaments.

“In the summer, I usually wake up around eight in the morning,” Izzabelle Puk said. “I go to the driving range for two-three hours then I go put for about four hours and end it with chipping for two.”

On top of her summer practices at her country club, she attended a golfing camp in South Carolina on Hilton Head island which would be her home for the next month. From seven in the morning to late at night she would be out on the course practicing with people from different parts of the world.

“It really improved my short game,” Izzabelle Puk said. “My short game is better now than it ever has been, but my long game went downhill because I had five different coaches telling me five different things to do all at the same time.”

Her coach, Kent Speer, sees Izzabelle Puk being a champion due to her length and touch. He believes she can play college golf with her skills, however she is so competitive that it gets in the way of her being able to function.

“She has the rare combination of power and finesse that one hardly sees,” Speer said. “She can hit it a long long way, but she is probably in the top two all time at Millard West for short game.”

Her dad is one of the people she mainly looks up to when it comes to her sport. He is beyond proud of her and her accomplishments. He loves that she always keeps with the sport and her ability to focus and concentrate on the game.

“I encourage her with both positive and constructive criticism suggestions,” John Puk said. “While she may not take them that way she will learn in the long run that they were there to motivate her.”

Izzabelle Puk hopes to better her golf career and get accepted into hopefully a Division one or two schools. She doesn’t know whether or not she wishes to pursue a professional golf career, however she does know she wants to be an aerospace engineer.

For now, she is going to continue and work on her golf skills and practice all year round. She is determined to be the best of the best and represent the Wildcats.