Blake Manasco knew that Alleybeth Waldrop wasn’t your typical golfer the first time he saw her on the course.
Now, just three years later, the Jasper High School sophomore is among the top competitors in the state. She recently placed second in the Class 6A State Golf Tournament in Mobile, finishing three strokes behind the winner.
Manasco isn’t surprised at her success.
“She came to tryouts that first day when she was in seventh grade. I knew right off the bat that she could play,” Manasco said. “She didn’t say a word. She just got out there and did her thing — hit fairways and greens. She said, ‘Let me know if I made it.’”
Of course Waldrop did make the team and she’s has been the top golfer for the Vikings since. Waldrop missed the state tournament by a stroke as a seventh grader and by two strokes as an eighth grader. Last year’s season was canceled due to Covid-19. This season she finished second at the sub-state meet, earning a spot in Mobile.
“My goal this year was to make it to state,” Waldrop said. “When I made it, I told myself I wasn’t going to put any pressure as to where I was going to finish. Next year I definitely want to win state. That’s my goal because I saw how close I was this year.”
At 16 years old, Waldrop is a golfing veteran. She started playing when she was in the second grade.
“My grandfather took me and three of my cousins out to Musgrove (Country Club) because he loved golf. He said, ‘One of y’all is going to play.’ The other three quit and started playing volleyball. I was the only one that stuck with it. After that, we found a place in Birmingham where I could take lessons. I’ve been taking (lessons) there eight or nine years,” Waldrop said.
Manasco said it’s the time Waldrop puts in at the course — Jasper plays its home matches and practices at Musgrove Country Club — that sets her apart.
“She’s a practice player. She comes to practice every day with something she wants to work on. She has a game plan and she executes that game plan,” Manasco said.
“It’s a good example for other players to emulate just because of her work ethic at practice. Alleybeth is there because she knows what she has to work on and she doesn’t come off that course until it’s perfected. She likes to see her hard work pay off and I like to see it pay off for her because I know all the behind-the-scenes effort that she puts in.”