RANTOUL — Maybe Sidney Hood was being humble.
That’s an easy assumption to make, given the Fisher senior is fairly soft-spoken.
When asked earlier this week, following a Bunnies practice at Willow Pond Golf Course in Rantoul, who the best golfer in her family is, Hood balked.
“I don’t know if I should say that,” Hood said. “I might get in trouble.”
But perhaps Hood just couldn’t decide upon an answer, given her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all play the sport.
At any rate, Hood is representing her family well heading into her final campaign of prep golf. She’s a three-time Class 1A individual sectional qualifier. Her score at each preceding regional has dropped by the year — from 98 as a freshman to 83 as a junior.
And Hood has done this without the benefit of a terribly large supporting cast. This year will be her second in which the Bunnies girls’ program won’t have enough participants to earn a team score at tournaments, but Hood is slated to begin play next Monday at the Blue Ridge Invitational to start her final season representing Fisher on the links.
“At least I did my freshman year, I had to tee off from the men’s tee,” Hood said. “That helped me a lot, and to play with the boys who are better, it pushed me to be better, too.”
Hood estimates she’s been playing since age 11 or 12, getting her start in Gibson City-based kids camps.
One aspect of the sport quickly stuck with her: the short game.
“My chipping, I’m pretty good at that,” Hood said. “That’s always helped me score better.”
That doesn’t mean Hood immediately found herself comfortable with the entirety of golf.
“Probably self-confidence (has been the biggest change),” Hood said. “As a freshman, you’re kind of nervous to get out there, but now that I’m a senior, I think I’m confident going into each match.”
That showed even before 12th grade. Hood is a reigning News-Gazette All-Area second-team selection and finished within the local top 15 last season in nine-hole stroke average at 45.8.
She just hasn’t had many female pals, however, to enjoy her spoils alongside.
“Not a lot of young kids play, but I’ve seen more girls wanting to play,” Hood said. “That’s really cool because it’s a very tough sport, and you have to have a mindset that you can do it.”
Hood is plenty familiar with more team-oriented ventures when she’s off the links.
She also stars for Fisher girls’ basketball and softball programs, to the point where she isn’t quite sure what she’d like to focus on athletically past high school.
Regardless, the individuality of golf has its benefits for Hood on the basketball court and softball diamond.
“Self-confidence — it’s a very mental game,” Hood said. “So I think I put that into my other sports, too.”
Before she suits up for her winter or spring events, Hood is trying to earn something she hasn’t as a golfer yet with the Bunnies.
A state berth.
So while she also hopes to “enjoy every moment” her senior season of golf has to offer, there’s a big carrot dangling for Hood.
“It’d mean a lot because I’ve come up short every other year,” Hood said. “So that’d be awesome to do that this year.”