OVERTIME WITH LAUREN PLEIMAN
BY BRADLEY LINAM
Bentonville senior Lauren Pleiman enters her final golf season for the Lady Tigers this year. Pleiman has garnered All-Conference and All-State honors for the previous two years at Bentonville. Last year, she recorded a 78 on day one and 74 on day two to finish fifth in the state golf tournament. She hopes to improve on that performance this year and help lead the Lady Tigers to a potential state championship.
What is your first memory on the golf course?
I started playing golf when I was 5 years old, but my first meaningful memory on the golf course was when I was 10 years old. It was the first time I played golf with my grandfather, Robert T. Mangan, at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago. My grandfather, who was a really great golfer and a rules official for the USGA, taught me so much. He encouraged and inspired me to play golf competitively.
How have your coaches helped you progress in your game?
I’ve had a lot of great help from coaches over the years. I work with an overall swing coach and a short game coach. However, I’ve learned in recent years, it is just as important to work on the mental and strategy side of the game. Many people think this is the more difficult part of being good at golf. I started working with an awesome coach this past winter and she really helped me learn how to practice with purpose and prepare for tournaments. Doing this is so much more meaningful than just going out and hitting golf balls for hours. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my game, as I put into play the things she has taught me.
What is your favorite high school golf memory so far?
The best part of high school golf has been playing in the state tournaments. Since these are the most competitive tournaments all year. My absolute favorite memory was during the second day of the state tournament my junior year. I played with a really good friend of mine from Cabot, which made the day really enjoyable. I played well and finished in 5th place overall, while being selected all-state for the third year in a row. It was also fun my freshman year when we won state. It was a really close match that went down to a playoff. I was one of the two players who competed in the playoff. Being a freshman it was pretty scary but also really fun to be able to contribute to the win for our team.
When you’re not playing golf, what are some things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
It feels like my spare time is pretty limited these days between schoolwork and practicing golf. This makes me really cherish my spare time, and I take the opportunity to hang out with friends and/or my twin brother, Andrew, as much as I can. I also love listening to music – Taylor Swift is my favorite.
How has the Bentonville community and fan base helped you in your high school career?
There are people in the Bentonville Community and my neighborhood that know that I play golf and they are always very encouraging and supportive.
What is your favorite course you have played at in your golf career?
I’ve had the opportunity to play some pretty famous courses. As I mentioned, I’ve played at Olympia Fields in Chicago. I’ve also played Harbour Town in Hilton Head and Pinehurst #2 and #4 in North Carolina. However, my favorite course I have ever played would be Pine Needles in North Carolina. I played in a really big tournament on this course last December. It was just my mom and I at the tournament and we had a great time together as well.
What other sports have you played in school?
Growing up, I played a lot of different sports like softball, soccer, and basketball. They were all fun, but I loved golf the most, so when I got to high school, I decided to focus just on golf.
How do you unwind once a golf tournament is finished?
It is really important to maintain your focus during a round of golf, and after a two-day tournament I am pretty exhausted. After a golf round, I usually unwind by going home and taking a nice warm shower and then a power nap.
What do you believe are the main challenges to be a
It is impossible to perfect your golf swing. It is always changing, and you are constantly trying to tweak your swing. However, once you know how to swing a golf club, thinking your way around the course and being mentally in the moment is the hard part. The main challenge to being a successful golfer is being confident with each decision and committed to each shot.
What are key attributes, skills you have that help with your golf game?
The best part of my golf game is my swing speed and distance. My driver swing speed is typically over 101 mph, which allows me to hit the ball over 275 yards off the tee. This is a big asset for scoring since it gives me a chance to reach par 5’s in two shots. It also allows me to hit shorter clubs into par 4’s than most people. Both of these things give me a lot more chances to get birdies.
Who is your favorite professional golfer and why?
My favorite professional golfer is Rory Mcllroy. He’s my favorite because he’s from Ireland and is a hard working, kind-hearted person. Plus he has an amazing golf swing, and is an incredible golfer.