Interview – Amanda Steinhagen

December 8, 2009 by  

Amanda Steinhagen, Oakton High School, VA
Class of 2010

Amanda, first, congratulations on your win at the 2009 VHSL Girls AAA State Championship.  You had two tremendous rounds (70-68, 138).   Can you walk us through the rounds a little bit?   And, you definitely have to let us know about that 50-foot birdie putt on 18.

Thank you, I’m actually still in shock about winning the state championship. Going into the tournament, I knew it would take a low score to win, and I really wanted to prove to myself that I could win the state championship again since I won it only in my sophomore year, and losing by one last year hit my confidence a little bit. The first round this year though, I knew if I just got off to a good start and kept my head in check, I would be ok. What I wasn’t expecting was to actually birdie the first hole. I made a 20 footer. I bogeyed the second hole after a bad drive, and went on to par another couple of holes. After playing a practice round I knew the last 4 holes of the front nine were possible scoring holes, and I would possibly be able to birdie a couple of those and get ahead. That first day I birdied holes 6, 7, and 8, going 3 under on the front nine. I parred the last hole to score 33 on the front nine. I moved onto the back nine and birdied the 10th hole. At that point in the round, I think I got myself a little bit over my head with my confidence, and double bogeyed 11 and bogeyed 12. I came back though on holes 14 and 15 and made birdies there, but ended with a double bogey on the last hole after putting 2 balls in the water and making a 15 foot putt. It was sort of an up and down day. I didn’t think my even round would be low enough to give me as big a lead as I wanted or even a lead at all.

After the 70 in round 1, what were your pre-round goals/objectives in approaching the final round?

I think going into that second day, I really just wanted to keep my head solid and stay focused. I knew I would be nervous, and I was ready for that because I knew my competitors were all capable of putting up low rounds. I kept to my normal morning routine, and just kept my mind from wandering to “what-ifs”.  My nerves got me at the beginning of the round, but I stayed solid and parred the first few holes. I made a great up-and-down out of a bunker on the 4th hole, which to this day I don’t know how I actually made. I birdied the following par 5, followed by another par, and then birdied the 7th hole. I ended up one under on that nine, but bogeyed my first hole on the back nine. I birdied holes 12 and 13, parred 14, 15, and then made a double bogey after hitting into a hazard over the green on the around 140 yard par 3. I made an up-and-down on the 17th hole, and then made a 50 footer on the last hole for birdie to end my high school career.  That 68 was a huge confidence booster for me.

A 50-foot putt to, as you put it, end your high school career, how cool is that.  You couldn’t write a better ending.

That last putt was actually very ironic because I was joking around with one of my playing partners, Paige Reese, about how I had the longest putt that I’d had all day on the 18th hole. I was actually really nervous about the putt because I didn’t know how to judge the speed very well because it was uphill until it got close to the hole and then started to roll downward a little bit. Paige told me that I “ought to make it easier on myself and just make the putt,” and then right after that, I made the putt! I was so shocked, I don’t even remember hearing the crowd roar or anything, but I remember Paige telling me that I needed to give her a high five after it happened. It was the best way to end high school golf. It was like one of the things you see on television with the professionals, I never thought it would happen to me.
What three words would you use to summarize your year?

Surprising, Amazing, and Saddening, because it’s my last year.
Your junior career has many highlights, such as winning two State Championships, qualifying to play in a Duramed Futures Tour event and playing along side professionals, VSGA team competitions, Capital Cup Team, junior tournaments, etc.  I am not sure if this is a fair question or not, but can you name a few highlights that are “extra” special to you and why?
The Duramed Futures Tour event to me was the highlight of my regular golf season. It was my dream come true to play in a professional tournament. I learned a lot from it and I learned what I need to do to get to that level, and it was interesting to see how a golf course is set up for a real professional golf tournament. I also think coming in second at the VSGA women’s stroke play championship was a huge confidence booster for me because I played really solidly all 3 days of that tournament. But nothing really topped winning states this year.
Everyone has to answer this one.  How did you get involved with golf and how old were you?
I was 6 years old visiting my grandparent’s house in Dayton, Ohio. My older sister, Jenny, had taken up the game a little bit and asked my dad if he would take her to a local driving range and my dad agreed. Being the little sister that I was, I asked to tag along. When we got there, my dad told me to wait around in the pro shop while he was setting things up for my sister. I was walking around the shop when I saw a kids sized plastic golf club with 3 rubber balls hanging on the wall. I don’t know why, but I really wanted it. I watched my sister hit golf balls for a little while, and when we were walking back through the pro shop I told my dad about the club, and at first he told me that I couldn’t have it. I actually then started wailing in the pro shop, and eventually he bought it for me. I then spent the rest of our visit in Dayton, Ohio, and also the next few months at home, practicing hitting those little rubber balls at trees and sheds in the backyard. Eventually, I made a certain deal with my dad that if I hit a tree consistently in our backyard that is about 25 yards away, he would get me my first set of golf clubs. Well, I hit it, and he brought home a set of kids clubs for me. And little did he and my mother know that, that was the start of everything!

Do you play any other sports?

I played soccer when I was little, but I quit that because it took too much of my time up. I do enjoy watching sports though, such as football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer. I’m a bit of a jock.
Moving in a little different direction, more on the topic of how you have developed as a player. Although we do have readers from across the country and around the world, the vast majority of our readers are from the DC Metro area.  One of the biggest concerns I hear players and parents discuss is how to stay in “playing shape” during the colder months of the year.  Many courses close down if temperatures go below 40 degrees, as an example.  So, living in Virginia, are there any secrets you’ve discovered to staying in “tournament shape” during the winter months? What is your routine during the winter? 
Actually during the weekend, I spend a lot of time just relaxing. I spend almost every day at the course during the other seasons, that it’s just nice to spend a little time to myself and to relax. I play about one tournament a month though, so I keep my tournament routine and mental control in check. When there are warmer days, I also head to the course to practice. But the winter is really the time that I get to workout the most, which I’ve really started to enjoy over the past couple of years.
What is your practice routine during the spring and summer?
I wouldn’t say that I have a legitimate routine during the spring and summer. I spend every day during the weekend and most of the days after school when it’s warm at the course, hitting balls and practicing short game. Sometimes I play a lot and sometimes I practice a  lot. It just depends what sort of mood I’m in and what tournaments I have coming up.
So this doesn’t change much prior to a tournament week?
Not really. How I practice really is determined by my mood or what I just feel like doing that day. I’m not the kind of player who likes to have a structured practice schedule. That works for some people, but I can get easily frustrated with some practice drills and some days I just don’t like to do certain things. Some days I just like to go pound balls at the range. The one thing that is consistent with my practice is that I always listen to my iPod, and I always practice short game for at least 30 minutes because I believe that short game is the most major part of the game.
Funny you mention your iPod, we will get to that in a moment.   Give us an honest assessment of your game right now.  What is Amanda’s analysis of Amanda’s game?
My putting is at the best that it’s ever been. My accuracy is something that I’ve been working on and plan on working on in the coming year. However, my bunker play I think could use work, and that’s what I’m going to work on the most in the upcoming year. My iron play is decent, as well as my driver, but I continue to work on that with the swing changes that I’ve been working on for the past few months.

Do you have an instructor or coach and if so, how often do you work with that person?
I work with John Glorioso at International Town and Country Club, which is my home course.  John and I take videos of my swing once a month and he looks at my swing at least once a week during the summer months.
Do you see or have you ever seen a mental-game coach or a sports psychologist?  If so, can you briefly describe your experience?   If you have never worked with one, is there anything else you have done to help you mentally prepare? What about books or CDs? 
I’ve never had a mental coach before. I think that people either have or don’t have the capability to get mentally strong by themselves. The last 2 years I think I have made huge strides toward getting mentally tougher, which I think is one of my strengths to my game. I have read books from different authors and books by Harvey Penick are my favorite golf books. I also think that listening to music helps because it keeps your mind from wandering while warming up and during practice.
How about physical training?  Have you incorporated that into your preparation?  If so, what kind of exercises do you focus on?
I’ve really started to workout in the last year or so. Physical strength is a major part of the game, such as back and core strengthening, and because I’m going to have consistent workout plans in college.
Congratulations on signing a National Letter of Intent with Longwood University.  That has to be a great feeling.  Please tell us a little about what the recruiting process was like for you. 
Thank you.  Yes, it’s official!  I’m very excited about it!  The recruiting process for me was very stressful, because you constantly have to send emails to coaches you’re interested in meeting, you have to visit schools and coaches, and I’m not the type of person who is capable of just asking the important questions straight-up to coaches. However, because recruiting happens so early for golf, I learned what kind of schools I liked, like where they were located, how big they were, what type of coach I wanted to work with, etc. I would definitely recommend to those who are being recruited and who are looking at different schools, to visit different size schools, because when I first started looking at schools, I wanted to go to a big school.  I learned by visiting different campuses that a big school was not the type of school I wanted to go to. I knew that I was going to go to Longwood the moment I left the campus during my unofficial visit. Everything just came together, the campus, the size of school, the distance it was from home, the coach, the team, everything fit. However, I also had a few other schools that I wanted to look at before I committed to Longwood.
How many schools would you say were seriously recruiting you and how did you finally decide on Longwood?

Like I said, everything just came together with Longwood, but I think right after September 1st last year, I got emails and letters from around 30 schools, however I narrowed it down to at least half that because I didn’t want to be too far away from home. I seriously looked at about 5 or 6 schools, but the more I visited, the more I wanted to go to Longwood since it was one of my first schools that I visited.
What do you plan to do between now and the time you start at Longwood next fall?
I can still play in certain junior tournaments because of my age. But I plan on playing in amateur tournaments and playing in VSGA tournaments as well. But I also plan on working out so I can prepare myself for tougher workouts once I get to Longwood.
Now, some “Get to Know Amanda” questions, rapid fire.  What’s the most-played song on your iPod?

Sabotage by Kristinia Debarge
Favorite school subject.

AP English Literature this year, but normally my math class.
Any ideas on what your major will be?

I originally thought forensics, but now I’m thinking more of economics or business marketing.
Brothers? Sisters?

Older sisters. Erin is 28 and Jenny is 26
Favorite golfer.

Paula Creamer/Adam Scott
Last book you read for pleasure.

Jane Eyre for the 50th time, I’m a huge Brontë sisters/Jane Austen/romantic classics fan.
Favorite movie.

It’s a tie between The Holiday and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Any pets?

8 year old miniature schnauzer, Freddie
Where do you see yourself in six years?

Getting my LPGA tour card. I plan on playing all 4 years of college.

Driver: Ping G10, 9 degrees
Fairway Woods: Taylormade 5 wood and 23 degree 3 hybrid
Irons: Callaway Fusions, the original version, however that’s going to change in the upcoming months to the Ping i15′s.
Wedges: Titleist Vokeys.  52, 56, 60 degrees
Putter: Scotty Cameron, Circa 62
Ball: Titleist ProV1
Special markings on your ball? I like to play balls with the number 1 on them but I’ll use any number and then I put blue X’s on either side of the number. 

Do you have any final words that you would like to add?
To those who play golf or plan on trying to play college golf and on, don’t give up. There are always going to be ups and downs with the game. You can bounce back from anything, that’s the hardest part of the game, keeping mental strength.

Amanda, thanks for giving your time to DC Metro Junior Golf and allowing us and our readers the chance to get to know you a little better.  Good luck the rest of the year, your upcoming college career and beyond!

Thank you for this interview!  The year has been great so far and I am looking forward to what the future brings.

Amanda Steinhagen


2 Responses to “Interview – Amanda Steinhagen”

  1. O'Neill Leads Boys, Steinhagen Leads Girls | DCMetroJuniorGolf on April 1st, 2010 7:12 pm

    [...] Chris O’Neill (Glen Allen, VA) fired a 2-under, 69, in the first round of the MAPGA’s Spring Fling being held at Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Fredericksburg, VA.Chris was two-under in front nine play and balanced three bogeys with three birdies on the back nine to give himself a four stroke lead over Maclain Huge (Lovettsville, VA).  Amanda Steinhagen (Oak Hill, VA) leads the Girls overall with a 6-over, 77.   Amanda is one stroke in front of April Nimjareansuk (Alexandria, VA) and twelve year old Shannon Brooks (Vienna, VA).  Read our interview with Amanda here. [...]

  2. O'Neill, Steinhagen Win MAPGA Spring Fling | DCMetroJuniorGolf on April 3rd, 2010 5:57 am

    [...] Steinhagen went low in the second round.  Posting a 34-36, 70 (1-under) second-round score combined with her first-day 77 (147) allowed her to clear the rest of the overall field by six strokes.  Shannon Brooks (Vienna, VA) was closest, turning in two excellent rounds of 78-75 (153) and outlasted Shabril Brewer (Oak Hill, VA) by one stroke.  Brewer carded rounds of 79-75, 154.  To learn more about Amanda, check out the DC Metro Junior Golf interview with Amanda, here. [...]

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