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Normandy High School's lone golfer blazes her own trail on the course

Anandra Chaney is the only golfer for Normandy High School. But she hopes her passion inspires other students who look like her to follow her lead to the course.

BEL-NOR, Mo. — Normandy High School soon-to-be junior golfer Anandra Chaney remembers her first encounter with the sport of golf. Let's just say it wasn't a perfect fit right off the bat.

“Oh… I remember the first time I ever picked up a club and swung and my ball went right in front of me," Chaney laughed.

But she wasn't discouraged, and saw something in the other golfers that made her want to continue on.

“The dedication that I saw everybody else had.. I was like, ‘Well if they can do it I can do it.’ And like really pushing through and staying true to my game and seeing the progress of my swing change, I really liked and was like, ‘I can do this’," Chaney said.

And while Chaney was falling in love with the game, it did take some convincing for her friends to understand her new passion.

“The first time I told my friends I played golf, they were like ‘Really? That’s for old people.' And I was like, “Wow...’ But after I showed them videos of me playing, they were like, ‘Dang I might start playing golf, it looks fun,'" Chaney said.

For most high school golfers, they have a team to lean on out on the course. But Chaney is a unique situation.

She's currently the only golfer at Normandy High School.

This past season she played in matches alongside the University City team, and on her own.

However, Chaney's passion and dedication has prompted Normandy to increase their golfing efforts, and the school is planning to field a full team next season. In fact, the school is hosting a summer golf program for younger students in grades 6, 7 and 8 later in June that will be taught by PGA professionals.

Credit: Normandy High School

Chaney knows a typical golf course is not filled with people who look like her. And as a young Black woman, she wants to show others who do look like her that golf can be something they can enjoy, too.

“I think it’s very exciting first because not a lot of people look like me that’s playing golf. And I really encourage people to start playing golf. It’s not a bad sport, you have a lot of fun and once you get into it there’s so many things you can learn. Golf has taught me so much just outside of golf," Chaney said.

So, how does Chaney think more young Black students can get involved in the game of golf?

“I really think it’s the education. Most people don’t really know about golf. They see all the people playing golf and they don’t look like us, so they’re like, ‘Maybe I can’t do it because they don’t look like us.' And the restrictions people put on themselves... ‘Oh if I don’t see nobody doing it that looks like me, I’m not gonna do it.’ But it’s more like getting programs out there for young people like me. The same way I started, people can start and be out there playing golf just like me," Chaney said.

As for where she hopes the game can take her, Chaney said she's just enjoying the ride and open to anything.

"I’m just riding the roller coaster right now. But I really hope to get a lot out of golf. It’s a great opportunity. It’s a door I’m walking into and it’s opening up way more doors," Chaney said.

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