Ava Taylor Estrella
Brookville , New York
Age: 14 - 15
The Path to the National Finals
Should a player advance through local qualifying, the subregional and regional qualifying sites are pre-determined based upon the local qualifying site. The player is not guaranteed participation in the subregional qualifier unless he/she advances through local qualifying. The player is not guaranteed participation in the regional qualifier unless he/she advances through local and subregional qualifying.
Local QualifierEvent CompletedPort Washington, NY 11050Jul 6, 2022
Sub-Regional QualifierEvent CompletedFarmingdale, NY 11735Aug 11, 2022
Regional QualifierEvent CompletedNorton, MA 02766Sep 17, 2022
NAME AND LOCATION OF SCHOOL:
Friends Academy, Locust Valley
GRADE IN SCHOOL:
HOME GOLF COURSE AND LOCATION:
Old Westbury Golf and Country Club, Old Westbury, New York
PLAY GOLF RIGHT OR LEFT HANDED:
AGE STARTED PLAYING GOLF:
9 years old
HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN GOLF?
My brother, Jack, is responsible for my interest in golf. Since I was young, I have looked up to him and followed everything that he did. I used to dance ballet; that was my focus when I was young. I also played soccer when I wasn’t practicing ballet. I performed in the Nutcracker with Eglevsky Ballet and danced with members of the NYC ballet every year. But Jack was always either practicing golf or playing golf, and I realized how much I missed him and wanted to spend more time with him. So I decided to change my focus from ballet and soccer to golf when I was around 9 years old and started playing golf seriously. I am very happy that I did!
WHO INTRODUCED YOU TO GOLF?
My mom introduced me to golf. She first brought me to a golf course when I was around three years old. We went with my brother, Jack, and my neighbors to a lesson, but I couldn’t really hit the ball very well and had more fun playing with the golf balls and rolling them into the putting green holes. But my mom never gave up, and kept putting me on a golf course every year, hoping I would love it one day. And I do!
WHO DO YOU NORMALLY PLAY GOLF WITH?
I normally play golf with my family: my brother, Jack, my mother and my father. I also play on my high school team and play with my brother’s friends a lot.
WHO IS YOUR GOLF INSTRUCTOR?
My golf instructors are Isaac Kim, at the Muttontown Golf Club and Matt Dobyns, at the Meadow Brook Club.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT PLAYING GOLF?
I love every aspect of the game. It challenges me to control my emotions when I am playing. For example, if I miss a putt or if I don’t hit my drive well I have to stay focused and concentrate on the next shot that I need to take. And if I don’t do well on a hole, golf challenges me to look forward and never back; to do the best that I can with the next hole I am playing. I also love the golf course itself, being outside on a nice day and playing golf with my friends.
WHAT PART OF GOLF DO YOU LIKE TO PRACTICE THE MOST?
I like to go to the range the most and warm up with my clubs. This gives me the most satisfaction in my practice routine because I can see the progress I have made if I am working on something with my swing or trying to hit closest to the pin on the range.
WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT GOLF?
The most difficult thing about golf is that one day, I can have an amazing day playing with your driver and irons, but my putting may be a little off. And the next day, it can be the reverse and I can be great at putting, but miss more with my irons. Also, I think that the changing weather, especially trying to play golf competitively in the Northeast, is very challenging. In New York, it is difficult to practice outside in the winter months and to stay sharp with both my long game and my short game. Coming out of the winter season into golf tournament season can be very difficult. It normally takes several weeks — sometimes tow months — for me to regain the same control of my short game that I had in the fall.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLUB?
My favorite club is my driver because I feel the most comfortable with it; I know it usually goes straight into the fairway and if I miss, it is not a big miss. However, I grew almost 5 inches this past year and now have to change my driver…so we will see if I still feel the same way!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GOLF COURSE IN THE WORLD?
My favorite golf course in the world is Pebble Beach. I went on vacation to Pebble Beach with my family last summer, and I loved playing SpyGlass and the Pebble Beach golf course and being able to walk the entire course, seeing the cliffs and the view of the ocean. It was beautiful. I would love to move there!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN GOLF SO FAR?
Definitely Drive, Chip and Putt and making it to the National Finals in Augusta! I also won the Long Island Junior Championship last year, scoring a 76. I’ve also won two HJGT tournaments and came in 1st in my age group in the NYS Junior Amateur Championship in July, 2022. In 8th grade, I qualified for the NYS high school championship, and placed 16th overall in New York State.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER JUNIORS PARTICIPATING IN DCP WHO ARE TRYING TO REACH THE NATIONAL FINALS?
My advice would be to never give up, to keep trying, no matter what. You should be proud of how much you have learned and accomplished, even if you don’t make it to Augusta. All your hours of practice will make you a better golfer, which is really why you practice in the first place. I would also say that it is not just about winning, but the experience of being in a national tournament that matters the most.
DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN PGA JUNIOR LEAGUE?
I participated in PGA Junior League when I first started to play golf. I played with my brother and his friends. We didn’t have enough players to make a team the first year, so we asked some of the kids we knew from our neighborhood if they would be a part of our team. It was a fun time, because I met many other junior golfers and played on courses that I never played before.
DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN LPGA/USGA GIRLS GOLF?
Not yet, but I am planning to this year and hope I qualify for a tournament.
DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN FIRST TEE?
I am volunteering for first tee this winter at Eisenhower Park.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PARTICIPATING IN DRIVE, CHIP AND PUTT?
My favorite thing about participating in DCP is competing and meeting new people from all over the region. Also, the opportunity to go to Augusta, to the Masters, and to hopefully see legends in the sport play is an amazing experience. I will never forget this moment in my life.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM YOUR LOCAL, SUBREGIONAL OR REGIONAL QUALIFIERS:
I love to compete at the DCP and I especially enjoyed the putting competition this year. What makes competing in this event special is that all the competitors are truly happy for you when you do well. They know how much work it takes to get to the subregionals and regionals, and everyone is very supportive. For example, my friend Caylin stayed with me at the subregional qualifier to see me receive my award even though she didn’t perform well that day. I will always be grateful to her.
HAVE YOU TRIED TO QUALIFY FOR DRIVE, CHIP AND PUTT IN THE PAST? IF SO, PLEASE LIST EACH YEAR AND YOUR PREVIOUS RESULTS:
2020: Won local qualifier and regional qualifier. Made it to the finals, TCP Sawgrass. Lost in final round. 2021: Won local qualifier. Regionals, 3rd place.
DID YOU WATCH LAST YEAR’S DRIVE, CHIP AND PUTT NATIONAL FINALS ON TELEVISION? IF SO, WHAT IMPACT DID THAT HAVE ON YOUR PARTICIPATION THIS YEAR?
Yes! I always watch the DCP finals every year. Watching it always has a big impact on me because I become more motivated to be a better player and to hopefully have the opportunity to go to Augusta. Going to the Masters and making it to the National Finals has been a dream of mine ever since I started playing golf. I feel so fortunate and am very grateful that I have this amazing opportunity.
LIST FROM STRONGEST TO WEAKEST – DRIVING, CHIPPING, PUTTING:
Driving, Putting, Chipping
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO THE MASTERS BEFORE? IF SO, WHEN?
No, I have never been to the masters before, and I am very excited to go!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GOLF ACCESSORY (HAT, HEADCOVER, BALL MARKER, ETC.)?
The ball marker that my brother gave me for my birthday. It is silver and has rhinestones around the border.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MASTERS MEMORY? U.S. OPEN OR U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN MEMORY? PGA CHAMPIONSHIP OR WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MEMORY?
When Tiger Woods won the Masters and hugged Charlie after he won. I watched his interview, and it was great to hear how important his family is to him and that he could hug his son in the same spot his father once hugged him.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY WATCHING GOLF ON TV?
Watching Charlie Woods compete with Tiger at the PNC tournament in Orlando last year. My parents give so much of themselves to my golf game, and I enjoyed seeing parents get to play with their kids for one day and see what their personalities are really like.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MALE GOLFER, AND WHY?
Jason Day. My parents had me watch a documentary about him and how he grew up in a poor family and sometimes did not have enough food to eat. And when he started playing golf at an academy, he out-worked all of the other golfers and tried his best. His story is inspiring to many young golfers. It inspires me to play the best golf I can play.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE GOLFER, AND WHY?
My favorite female golfer is Morgan Pressel. I admire her because she had a lot to overcome in her life after she lost her mother but she still focused on her dreams and goals. I also like Lexi Thomson a lot because she is dedicated and has worked hard to achieve all of her goals in golf.
WHO IS THE COOLEST PLAYER IN GOLF, AND WHY?
The coolest player in golf is TIGER! He is the coolest not only because he has won so many major championships but also because he has a lot o discipline and focus and is also mentally tough. He never lets anything stop him, even his many injuries. He never complains, he just plays. I especially love watching him play with his son. That makes him the coolest.
HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS? IF SO, WHO? PLEASE DESCRIBE THE CIRCUMSTANCES:
I have never played with anyone famous, but would welcome the opportunity! I do play golf with my mom. Her name is Steffi Graf. She is not the tennis player, but I guess some people say that she is famous anyway. She actually caddied for me in many golf tournaments when I was young.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO PLAY GOLF WITH A DREAM FOURSOME, WHO WOULD THE OTHER THREE PEOPLE BE?
Tiger Woods, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPERSTITIONS AS IT RELATES TO GOLF? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE:
No superstitions! I have a black cat named Mittens so I am OK!
DO YOU PLAY ANY GOLF VIDEO GAMES? IF SO, WHICH ONE(S)?
No video golf games, sorry!
WHAT FOOD WOULD YOU SERVE AT YOUR CHAMPIONS DINNER AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL?
Foie grass terrine, roast duck with red berry sauce, bananas foster and ice cream sundaes
FAVORITE SCHOOL SUBJECT:
FAVORITE SCHOOL TEACHER:
Mrs. Aubrey, 6th grade at Jericho Middle School.
FAVORITE SPORT (OTHER THAN GOLF):
FAVORITE SINGER / MUSIC GROUP:
FAVORITE TV SHOW:
The Summer I Turned Pretty
DESCRIBE ANY TALENTS OR INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF GOLF:
I danced in the Nutcracker for three years with the Eglevsky Ballet. I also love to play soccer.
DESCRIBE ANY OBSTACLES YOU’VE OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE:
I’ve had a few injuries — I used to ride horses. I was thrown hard by a horse and landed on my head. I had a concussion afterwards, but I made sure I started riding again after I felt better because I didn’t want to be afraid to ride. At first, it was hard to get back on a horse but I was determined to make sure I was OK. I also hurt my wrist and hand playing golf and trying to increase my swing speed. I couldn’t play for about a month, and I realized how much I loved golf at that point in my life.
HERO / ROLE MODEL(S):
My brother, Jack.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The best piece of advice I have ever received is from my mother: To never give up, no matter what. To keep going and to always look ahead in your life and on the golf course.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
A professional golfer!
I am a hardworker in both school and on the golf course. I always try my best in everything that I do. I love my family and my friends. I can be funny. I love to travel — I especially love traveling to France in the summer — and to eat great food along the way. And most of all, I love golf.