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Hartselle High senior Taylor Kirby teed it up with the best of them this year, finishing 10th in the Class 5A state tournament.
Hartselle’s own golfing Tiger
Taylor Kirby tops her prep career by finishing 10th at state tournament
By Ashley Hargrove
Hartselle High’s Taylor Kirby doesn’t regret making the switch from volleyball and softball to golf in high school. In fact, she wishes she would have made the switch a lot sooner.
Her success on the links speaks for itself.
Kirby fired an 82 at this year’s sectional tournament to qualify for the state tournament in Opelika, where she finished 10th in 1A-5A girls.
Her performance at the state tournament for the Lady Tigers has earned her The Decatur Daily’s girls golfer of the year.
“I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked,” Kirby said, “but that’s just how things go sometimes. Playing golf has given me the experience to do what I want to do. I hope to be able to go far with it.”
The recent Hartselle graduate was no stranger to the state tournament in May. She participated in the 2005 and 2006 state championships, too. The Tigers finished eighth as a team in 2005.
She carded an 82.2 average her senior year at Hartselle. So it should be no surprise that she will continue her golf career when she enters Birmingham-Southern this fall.
“I’m playing in three tournaments this summer to help keep myself competitive,” Kirby said. “I plan on practicing a lot, too. “When I get down to Birmingham-Southern, I want to make sure the seniors have to work for a spot on the team.”
Since Birmingham-Southern went from NCAA Division I to Division III last year, the school no longer offers athletic scholarships.
Instead, Kirby will be on an academic scholarship.
She said she has hopes of one day playing on the pro tour.
Hartselle High’s Taylor Kirby qualified for the state tournament for the third straight year.
“After I finish school, I’m going to try and go pro,” Kirby said. “I plan on playing in a couple of women’s amateur events. My brother (Tyler) and I both have the same dream to go pro. That’s part of the drive, because he wants me to be successful.”
Until then, Kirby said, she will major in business marketing and management and try to start a women’s golf and apparel store that specializes in building clubs. Eventually, she would like to design her own course, where she can teach lessons.
“One day, I feel that she will be playing on the LPGA Tour,” Hartselle girls golf coach Gary Orr said. “Hopefully, she will have a good year at Birmingham-Southern so she will be able to see where she stands. She’s got big dreams, and a lot of dedication and pride.”
Golf is certainly nothing new to the Kirby family.
Her father, Ken Kirby, is an avid golfer, and her brother, Tyler Kirby, is a member of the Alabama A&M golf team and a former member of the Hartselle High team.
As if that weren’t enough, her cousin Boo Weekley, who lives in Northwest Florida, is a member of the PGA Tour. In 17 tournaments this year, Weekley has pocketed $1.76 million and a win at the Verizon Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, S.C.
Kirby gives credit to her brother and cousin for getting her interested in the game.
“I went to one of Boo’s tournaments a couple of years ago and liked the whole atmosphere,” Kirby said. “I decided to give it a try. My brother is another big reason I decided to start playing golf.
“I saw the dedication he put into golf day in and day out. I’m the type of person who likes to work hard for things. If everyone could be good at the game of golf, then what would be the challenge? The challenge is what brings people to the course every day, and that’s what I like about it.”
“Taylor is a very competitive person,” Orr said. “She is competitive with her schoolwork, and it carries over into golf. The young kids respect her a lot. That just speaks of what kind of leader she was for this team. “
Kirby said not only does she look at Orr as a coach, but as family as well.
“He and his family mean the world to me,” Kirby said. “He always told me, ‘You’ve got the talent, kid. You’ve got it. You’ve got the passion and the drive to make it professionally.’ He’s made me keep my head up this season, and that’s exactly what I needed.”
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