What a difference a year makes…
After watching members of her family play the game of golf, Raegan Essex was curious when she first picked up a golf club last spring at age 14.
“Swinging the club the first time trying to hit the ball, I thought this is going to be really hard,” replied the now Muskogee sophomore. “Simultaneously, I thought just be the best I can be, keep improving and see what happens.”
After just one year of practice and competition as a member of the Roughers girls’ golf team, Raegan has fine tuned her skills in order to qualify for the Class 6A state golf tournament.
“Her drive to be good at whatever she does separates her from the others,” said Muskogee golf coach Brad Huddleston. “Raegan will find a way to put in the time to get done whatever is required to be a better player.”
Also a member of Muskogee’s volleyball team, Essex’ competitive spirit pushes her to improve day by day.
“There’s no question I am competitive. I just want to be better than anyone else around me,” Raegan said with a confident voice. “Get to the golf course, stay late and practice on my own; whatever I have to do to win.”
The Roughers coach likes the confidence of his player and the way she leads by example.
“Raegan is a person her other teammates watch and try to match and emulate the energy and effort she brings to every competition, whether it’s in practice or a tournament.”
In the classroom, Raegan maintains a perfect scorecard with a 4.1 grade point average that she says helps her to maintain mental focus under pressure.
“You have to keep your mind free of clutter. Any time I make a bad swing, I’ve learned how to move past it, keep a positive attitude and focus on the next stroke.”
Raegan’s shot by shot strategy is much to the liking of her coach.
“I like her understanding of how to be prepared; she knows her strengths and weaknesses. Raegan has learned that you can’t try harder than you tried on the last shot; just go be perfect the next time.”
The first Muskogee girl golfer to qualify for state since 2018, Raegan admits there were some nervous moments heading to the first tee box at state. Still yet, the experience of playing with the state’s best fuels her drive going forward.
“I definitely want to qualify again and move up on the leaderboard. Right now it’s back to the practice tee.”