Competitive and consistent, Women’s golf Captain Mary Shin draws motivation from change

Now-senior Mary Shin practices her putting at the Philadelphia Cricket Club on Sept. 6, 2018 (Photo from Penn Athletics). Credit: Hunter Martin

The best Golfers spend their entire Careers searching for consistency – that’s what separates amateurs from the professionals.

For senior Mary Shin, Captain of Penn Women’s golf, though, consistency has rarely been an issue.

“She’s competed at Princeton three times and she’s placed third, eighth, and 10th at Princeton,” Coach Mark Anderson said. “Three top 10 finishes in the same tournament are really impressive, and those tournaments are just a sign of her consistency and how solid she is.”

Shin has had years to work on her craft. Coming from a golfing family, it was only natural that she followed in the footsteps of her parents and brother.

While her family simply stuck with golf recreationally, Shin saw more to it.

“I really enjoyed that competitive spirit of golf,” Shin said. “When you’re practicing recreationally, that can be fun – but to post [the best] scores, and to see the results of what you’ve practiced towards, that was really fun. ”

Shin’s competitive nature contributed to her consistent ambition to improve her game. While the Irvine, Calif. native tried her hand at other sports like tennis, Shin decided to shift her focus towards golf.

“Golf’s tough and I think that’s one of the things that kind of keeps me going,” Shin said. “It’s not a consistent sport, and it keeps changing – every time you go out there, it’s different. Every course you play is just so different. So for me, that’s kind of what makes it exciting. ”

The variation in golf is what has taught Shin to be consistent with her game – the more change that erupts within the sport, the better she seeks to become by adapting.

But it’s not just on the green – Shin’s demeanor, too, remains steady.

“She doesn’t get too excited, she doesn’t get too upset,” Anderson said. “She’s one of the players that it would be very hard to tell if she was having a great day or a bad day on the course, which is a great attribute to have.”

It’s not uncommon for a golfer to have a couple of bad holes in succession. Without an even-language disposition, poor play can easily throw a golfer off balance. To be competitive as a team, maintaining a strong mentality is almost a level in importance as a technique.

“As a Captain, Mary’s been super organized and I’m really impressed with her about that,” Anderson said. “She’s done a great job with talking to [the team] and motivating them as a leader. ”

Shin’s growth since her start at Penn has been remarkable. While her play on the green has been nothing short of consistent, Shin’s development as a positive presence has influenced her teammates as well.

“She’s always very positive and confident on the inside even though it doesn’t necessarily show,” Anderson said. “But just by talking to her, I know she always has a good positive attitude, which is so helpful.”

Shin will have a chance to continue leading her team through the rest of the 2022 spring season, standing as an important marker of steadfast ambition to adapt to the always evolving sport of golf.

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