A steady middle school and high school boys program in Columbia County has produced several strong golfers in recent years. However, the next generation of golfers in the county includes two girls with quite impressive records.
Sisters Taylor and Ashlan Ramsey are spending their summer playing in golf competitions around the country. At the Starburst Junior Championship in Waco, Texas, on June 14, each placed first in her age division.
The three-day event is the third-largest junior golf tournament in the nation. For Ashlan, a pupil at Stevens Creek Elementary, it was her third national title; Taylor, who will be a seventh-grader at Riverside Middle, won the tournament for the second year in a row.
The results are no fluke: The girls have consistently won or contended at tournaments for the past two years.
Their father, Al Ramsey, said it all started when Taylor, now 11, was only 6.
"We lived on a driving range then," he said. "They used to go out there with me at night and hit range balls. Whatever I showed them, they could do."
It wasn't until two years later that Taylor started taking golf lessons. Her sister followed the next year. The result is a pair of sisters who stick together and win together.
"We help each other a lot," Taylor said. "It's nice to have somebody you know there."
The girls' summer travels will continue with a July 10-13 trip to San Diego for the Callaway World Championship.
The sisters also have qualified for the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst the last week of July.
Ramsey said the tournaments and the sport itself are great ways to teach life lessons.
"I think golf has already taught them a lot: honesty, respect, discipline," he said. "It's the biggest compliment I get when someone tells me the girls are well-mannered. I just want them to have fun and go to college wherever they want to. Beyond that, it's up to them."
Taylor, who boasts a drive of almost 200 yards, can already beat her dad from the men's tees. She shot 79 at Bartram Trail on June 26.
Both girls said playing and competing are fun, but their success doesn't come without a price.
"Sometimes my friends ask me if I can come over to their house," Ashlan said. "I say, 'No, because I'm going to go practice today,' and they say, 'You have to practice again?' and I tell them, 'Yes, you have to practice every single day.'"
Ramsey acknowledged the girls make sacrifices, but he makes sure they also have fun.
"They like winning trophies, but they realize to win trophies you've got to practice and work hard," he said.
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