Staff Photo: John Bohn Talyor Allen of Brookwood competes in the Region 8-AAAAA Girls Golf Championships are played at Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville.
SNELLVILLE -- Golf was Taylor Allen's idea.
She wasn't drug to a driving range as a toddler or forced out to the course by a aggressive parent. Her parents aren't really golfers.
"To be honest I am not sure," Allen said how she got involved in golf. "I just remember going, when I was in fifth grade, to the range a couple of times. (Dad) said one day I came up to him and asked if I could start playing.
"I brought it to my dad. It's a really good father-daughter sport."
Allen was in fifth grade, late for many golfers of her quality, when she first went to the range. An active child, Allen was playing basketball, soccer and tennis already.
"I was trying out all different things," she said. "For some reason I fell in love (with golf)."
She played basketball until her sophomore year and played soccer for about a decade. But now all she does is play golf.
After a few trips to the range and some turns around the course, Allen again had a suggestion.
"I said, 'You know, dad, I want to try a couple of tournaments,'" she said.
With her father as her caddie, she started playing U.S. Kids and then Atlanta Junior, always finding success.
Then came her freshman year at Brookwood. She qualified for state that season and then, in a driving rain storm she turned in an 83, a top 10 finish in her first trip.
"That was awesome," Allen said of the rainy state tournament. "That was so much fun. I loved that day."
Allen doesn't spend too much time with a personal golf instructor. She practices with her teammates at Brookwood and enjoys the team atmosphere of the individual sport. Allen, an engaging high school junior, avoids the solitude of golf when she can.
"I value the team. I love the team aspect of it," she said. "I really look forward to high school. You are out here on a tournament with your buddies, with everyone that loves the game like you do. Going to tournaments, we rock out to music in the car, get a little pep talk going and it's just really great."
Allen nearly cries when she remembers her finish at the Region 8-AAAAA tournament last year, walking down the fairway and seeing her teammates and family watching and cheering for her.
"They were all around the green waiting for us to come in," Allen said. "Seeing them cheering as we walked up, it's the best feeling in the world. It really is. I thrive off that energy."
Allen works with swing coaches in hitting bays, hooked up to sensors trying to improve her technical skills. During the high school season, however, she just plays.
"It's all about touch and feel," she said.
And for Allen, about watching others.
"I love playing against girls who are better than me," Allen said. "I can see different ways to play the game. I love playing with better girls, I mimic people that I am playing with. I tend to. Seeing their confidence I tend to act more confident myself."
Once success came at the tournament and high school level, Allen's interest and intensity toward golf increased. It grew from a hobby to a track to college and, perhaps, beyond.
"I have never been dead-set on playing golf, it's always been a hobby," Allen said. "The past few years, eighth grade, probably. I thought, 'I might want to go pro.' And even if I didn't go pro this is something I definitely want to play in college. I loved it."