Azriel Webb: The Golfer
Her feet are perfectly lined up to her shoulders and the sun is shining down on her, her visor keeping it from blinding her. The club is held tightly, with her hands on top of one another. She adjusts her placement once more before her arms swing back and then swiftly foreword, hitting the ball, only a small dust of cloud following after it. For junior Azriel Webb, there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing.
Webb has only been seriously playing golf since June of 2020, reaching Regionals after only playing for four months. For the last three years, she had been running track. The switch came after she realized that she wasn’t happy competing in the sport anymore; dreading practice and growing a dislike for running. “For me, I know I love something when I put my all into it, like I just get so passionate about certain things and that’s just how I feel about golf,” she said.
Besides the game itself encouraging her to continue, her grandparents have been supportive of her since the switch. They were hesitant at first for the big change as track was a major part of her life and worried about if it was the best decision to make, especially since Webb would be entering the sport at such a late stage. But after seeing her passion and success, they are her number one fans, doing all they can to help and attending all of her games. “Any time there’s resources or anything they can do to help me, they’re right there,” she said.
Even though she received the support of her grandparents, there were others who didn’t want Webb to pick up the sport seriously, insisting that she should stick with track because golf would be too hard. She mentioned that people within and outside of her race discouraged her, saying that it wasn’t a sport for people of color.
“That made me want to play it even more because I wanted to prove them wrong,” she said. An inspiration in this has been Maria Fassi, a Mexican golfer who’s experienced similar criticisms that Webb’s received. However, after the season, she’s gotten much more support, with people seeing her strengths and potential after going to Regionals.
“Regionals was a wakeup call,” she laughed. “It really showed me what golf looks like and what competing at this level looks like.” Webb was intimidated to be playing against girls with ten years of experience and who play in nationals. Despite the nerves, others there saw her potential, with many coming up to her grandparents and telling them that she should continue the game; one of those people being a man who had worked with LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) events. “Regionals was my favorite match because there were so many people that told me to keep going,” she said.
Other than outside encouragement, Webb has the self-motivation to do all she can to improve in the sport, practicing every day of the week from anywhere between two and five hours each day, immediately leaving school for practice. To her, golf is almost like an addiction, saying that nothing is more satisfying than hitting a good shot or parring a hole. Every new game and good performance, encourages her more. She even journals everything she learns from her practices, seeing every mistake as an opportunity to improve. Webb says that “no matter what, if you want something, I feel that you should go get it. Whatever the constraints society might put on you, you should never ever back down. When you want it, you’ll get it.”