With her eyes on the ball, freshman Tess Roman slowly brings her Callaway driver back and swiftly swings the club. Her ball shoots through the air, surpassing the other varsity golfer’s drives by nearly 30 yards. Hitting the ball further than most girls isn’t unusual for Roman, especially since she’s been playing since kindergarten.
Ever since playing on the Warriors club team at Meadowbrook Golf Course in kindergarten, Roman has been nailing down everything from what clubs to use in order to turn her bogie into a par to what swing to use on hole #9 at Swope Park golf course.
Now ranked #27 in the 14-to-18-year-old golfers in the Kansas City Area by the Kansas Junior Golf Association, Roman is playing anywhere between the second and fourth spot in the SME girls golf varsity lineup.
SME girls golf coach Dave Hanson said Roman is possibly one of the top freshman golfers SME has ever had.
“She is a rare talent,” Hanson said. “[I] truly believe [she] will win at the highest levels in high school golf.”
Hanson also thinks that by gaining more competitive tournament experience Roman will compete and place well among some of the best high school golfers in the state.
Up until two years ago Roman was coached by her father, when she hired a certified coach with whom she has been working on her swing. In a week she practices anywhere from 6-12 hours, more if she can fit it into her schedule.
To prepare for her tournaments, Roman plans to practice in the winter at the Lady Sykes driving range in Overland Park.
Roman has wanted to play Division 1 college golf all her life and is working towards her dream school of Stanford, which meets her requirements both in the classroom and on the course.
In order to measure up academically, Roman is enrolled in all honors core classes for her freshman year. And when she’s not spending hours at the driving range, she’s studying for her English vocabulary quiz or unit exam in biology over cells.
In order to fulfill her hopes of playing in college, Roman will be working to improve her ranking to to top five by hopefully placing well and winning her tournaments at courses including Swope Park and Heart of America in the spring.
Roman practices alongside sophomore twins Hanna and Hope Robinett who think Roman is a strong player who will impact the team immensely both with her scores and competitive nature.
“She takes the game to heart for sure,” Hanna said. “You can tell when she’s playing she’s always really focused and thinks about every shot carefully.”
Roman has enjoyed the change of playing alongside teammates for her school.
“High school season is different because you’re not just playing for yourself,” Roman said. “You’re playing for your team too.”
Sports have always been a part of Roman’s life, whether she’s playing tennis at the Woodside courts or practicing softball at fields in Stillwell. While Roman is planning to participate in cross country, basketball, softball and track at East, the majority of her focus will be aimed at golf.
“It’s definitely her passion,” Hope said. “She would rather be on the course than anywhere else.”