Walk-on transforms herself into a leader for GV women’s golf

Walk-on transforms herself into a leader for GV women’s golf

Bryce Derouin

All athletes have their own unique paths they take to reach success.

For senior Grand Valley State University women’s golfer Marni Weinstein, her persistent work ethic has fueled her journey and transformed her into one of the prominent faces in the GVSU golf program.

Nearly four years ago, Weinstein wasn’t offered a scholarship to play golf at GVSU. After a successful career at Walled Lake Western High School, she was receiving Division III offers from various schools, but she already decided she would be attending GVSU in the fall of her freshman year. Her golf career would be decided by GVSU head coach Rebecca Mailloux over the course of five seven-and-a-half-hour days at the GVSU High School Golf Camp.

“Coach had said that could be my tryout,” Weinstein said. “I didn’t really know what she was looking for. I didn’t know what kind of scores I needed to be shooting and it was the first time I’ve ever met her. I was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life.”

For Weinstein, this was her last opportunity to continue her golf career, which started when she was eight. When she needed to impress, she did. Making a big enough impression on Mailloux to offer Weinstein a walk-on opportunity.

“Through the week, I couldn’t speak because I was so nervous,” Weinstein said. “At the end of the week when she told me that she would take me on the team as a walk-on, she told me that I would have to work incredibly hard, but she saw potential, it was one of my proudest moments. Her recognizing that I had some potential and giving me that chance is a feeling that I could never imagine.”

Fast-forward to the present, and Weinstein has become one of the most consistent golfers on the team. In her junior year, she was named to the All-GLIAC Second Team, and this year she has finished in the top five in three of the last four tournaments.

“She’s progressively gotten better every year,” Mailloux said. “Freshman year to now is a completely different golfer. She has passion for the game, and her desire to get better and her hard work and her time she’s put in these past few years is definitely the reason why she’s gotten so much better, which is because of the time she’s put in and her general love of the game.”

In each season, Weinstein has seen her scoring averages improve. She went from averaging 84.30 strokes her sophomore year, to 81.86 strokes last season, to 80.46 strokes in her current senior year.

“I’m proud of how far I’ve come,” Weinstein said. “I don’t think there was that much expected of me when I got here, and I’m proud of the fact that I surpassed people’s expectations of what I was going to do in my four years.”

With senior Ashley Beard out due to injury, Weinstein has also found herself in a leadership role as the only active senior on the roster. She attended a leadership seminar in the summer, which helped her grow into her role as a leader.

“Being a leader of this team is a very proud thing for me because I really admire all of my teammates,” Weinstein said. “I think they’re all incredible people and great people to be on the team with.”

Weinstein has six meets left in her senior season. As her career comes full circle, she’s been able to look back and reminisce at how far she’s come.

“Sometimes I kind of have to remind myself just because I have come so far since I came onto the team,” Weinstein said. “Coming on as a walk-on, I’ve always felt like I had to prove myself. Being where I am now, I at least feel that I have proven myself. Being able to have success and help lead my team where we’re going and where we’ve been the last year and a half has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”
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