Originally created 12/25/05

Golfer is glad dad got her off the couch



There were plenty of Saturday mornings when Traci Bodner had her own agenda.

"I was lazy, wanting to watch TV and cartoons," said Traci, a North Augusta High School senior who now is glad her father made her hit the links instead of becoming a couch potato.

"My dad would push me to be a good golfer," said Traci, 17, who recently signed a letter of intent to play golf for the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg.

Traci's interest in golf started when she was in elementary school. She said she often would tag along when her brother, Jeff, 19, and father, Ken, would go to the course.

Her brother competed in area golf tournaments. "I got bored just watching," said Traci, so she asked if she could play.

"My dad taught me," she said.

Traci said she learned early on that the mental part of golf was important since she'd sometimes get lonely on the course.

"There were no other girls playing," she said.

Traci played at Aquinas High School for two years. During her freshman year, she was the region medalist and finished third in the state. She was named The Augusta Chronicle's high school MVP for girls' golf in 2003.

Before her junior year, Traci transferred to North Augusta High School. Since North Augusta does not have a girls' golf team, she plays on Aiken High School's team.

Last year, she finished second in the Region 4-AAAA championship tournament, shooting a 78. She has been a member of the all-region team for the past two years.

For the past three years, Traci has qualified for the Crown Cup golf tournament, which pits the top eight girl golfers in South Carolina high schools against the top eight from North Carolina.

Traci said she is ranked seventh in the state.

Traci participated in other sports in high school. She was a cheerleader and played basketball at Aquinas, but dropped those sports in favor of golf.

"I realized that it was going to get me the furthest," she said. "I really enjoyed cheerleading but I realized it wasn't going to get me half as good a scholarship as golf."

She said she received scholarship offers from other colleges but decided on USC Upstate because of its five-year nursing program for athletes.

"That is really where my heart is," she said of nursing. "A lot of schools won't let you do golf and nursing at the same time."

Although Traci currently is in her offseason as far as golf competitions are concerned, she said she's working on certain parts of her game.

"The mental game is 90 percent of golf," she said. "It's every single player's biggest problem."

Traci said she has a big weight lifted from her shoulders knowing that her college plans are all mapped out.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.