0

Open mind made champion out of Spartans' Herbert

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Greater Atlanta Christian's Emee Herbert is the Daily Post girls Golfer of the Year after winning the state Class AA title by five strokes as a senior.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Greater Atlanta Christian's Emee Herbert is the Daily Post girls Golfer of the Year after winning the state Class AA title by five strokes as a senior.

NORCROSS — Chances are, Emee Herbert won’t like this story at first. She may never like it, but here’s hoping she at least hates it the first time.

Herbert doesn’t latch onto things quickly, choosing rather to reject them outright. But she keeps her mind open, allowing her first impression to not be her final impression.

The GAC graduate can’t remember life before holding a golf club. Her mother, Leslie, played golf at Florida State and worked as an instructor. Among her students was Emee.

ALL-COUNTY GIRLS GOLF

• Girls golfer of the year: Emee Herber, GAC, Senior

Tusculum signee, Class AA state champion, Region 6-AA Champion

First team

• Lauren Court, Collins Hil

• Taylor Blair, Wesleyan

• Taylor Allen, Brookwood

Second team

• Kiersten Nowell, Dacula

• Aly Hicks, Buford

• Darby Gentry, Hebron

“From the time I can remember I always had a golf club,” Herbert said. “I didn’t really like it until my sophomore year.”

That’s nearly a decade of playing a sport and not liking it. Now, she graduates with a scholarship to Tennessee’s Tusculum and hopes to be a tournament professional. Golf is all she wants to do.

There was no moment on the course where she improved exponentially or a conversation with her mother or another instructor that sold her on the sport. Instead, she realized, while daydreaming in class, her love of golf.

“I was sitting in a classroom just down the hallway and I was thinking, ‘I hate this stuff. I think I really want to play golf.’ I think I figured out that I loved it,” Herbert said, sitting in one of Greater Atlanta Christian’s many buildings. “I think it kind of related to life a lot. I really enjoyed it. I think you really have to work hard and be honest to succeed in it. It is something that I feel I can do.”

Her results prove she can play golf.

Herbert won the Class AA state championship this year by five strokes and also won the Region 6-AA title.

“I thought state was going to be closer than it was. I was surprised,” Herbert said of her five-stroke victory. “At state going into it, I was nervous.

“I knew if I played my game, I could do well at state. I didn’t win everything I played, because I am not perfect. I had competition.”

Herbert took an atypical path to GAC. Rather than grow up in the school from elementary age or younger, the Atlanta-area native transferred to the Norcross school before her freshman year. Her family lives in Johns Creek, but she wanted to attend a smaller school than her designated Northview. Her brother picked Fellowship Christian, but Herbert kept looking. She visited Wesleyan and GAC before finally choosing to be a Spartan.

But the choice took time.

“I didn’t like it here when I came to visit here,” Herbert said. “Then I prayed about it and it grew on me. I could not be happier.

“For the most part I really love this school and the people here. I consider it a home.”

The same is true for her college choice. Herbert sought out Tusculum for it’s unique single-class academic schedule and golf team, but when she walked on the campus, she was ready to keep looking.

“When I first went to the campus, I hated it. It grew on me a lot,” she said. “I was like, ‘Dad, we can stop the tour now, I will not go here.’ It’s the oldest school in Tennessee and I honestly didn’t know what I wanted and I realized that that was what I wanted in September.

“I really don’t know what happened. I prayed about it and I feel like I was called to go there. I feel like it suited me.”

It just took some time.