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FORT SCOTT — Living on a golf course for much of her life, it was just natural that Lauren Madison would fall in love with the sport of golf. And during her four-year run at Fort Scott High School, she has definitely made the most of the situation.
Madison was a four-year participant on the Tiger girls’ golf team, qualifying for state competition each of those seasons.
“I chose golf as my only sport because it was what I was truly focused on,” Madison said. “My whole family lives on the golf course and has always played golf, so they have always pushed me to keep improving my game. My cousin Nick was my best friend growing up, and he is also very successful in golf, so we grew up playing together.”
Madison said she tried to play the sport of volleyball when she was younger, including participating on a traveling team for two years. But by the time she completed her junior high years, she had already put her focus on golf.
“Nick and I both started out when we were around seven years old because our grandma did a volunteer summer golf camp for kids,” Madison said. “We both started playing in a SEK Junior Golf League around age nine, and then we played in U.S. Kids Golf and Kansas Juniors Golf Association up until high school.”
It was those junior tournaments that prepared Madison for what was ahead at the high school ranks.
“I would say the junior tournaments helped me tremendously,” Madison said. “A huge part of golf is your mental game, and it took awhile for me to only worry about my own game on the course and not everything going on around me. That’s how you come out on top. I was also very used to the competitive environment and general golf etiquette because of my experience in junior golf.
“You definitely have to have the physical skill and all that takes is getting on the course and devoting your time to improving your game. Once you have the skill, I would say the results are 100 percent for mentality reasons. It’s tough to be in such a competitive environment with all of these people wanting you to come out on top every tournament. If you have one bad hole, it can be tough to get back on your game for the next one.”
Of course, during her high school days, Madison said she still needed to improve if she wanted to achieve her goals in the sport.
“With my physical game, the distance I could hit the ball was definitely the biggest improvement,” Madison said. “That was something I really struggled with my freshman year. The biggest thing to me, though, was the mental toughness to just stay positive and learn to never get upset over a shot because I could always come back on the next one. Focusing on just my game and not the girls next to me who could’ve beat me was the best thing I could ever do to help my game.”
Heading into her senior campaign, Madison had already been a proven winner for the Fort Scott golf program. She qualified for the Class 4A State Tournament each of her first three seasons, becoming just the second Tiger freshman girl to ever advance to state competition. She tied for 11th place at Hesston Golf Course as a freshman, tied for 22nd as a sophomore at Lake Shawnee Golf Course in Topeka, and took ninth place as a junior at Hutchinson’s Carey Park.
In addition to that, she was also the Southeast Kansas League individual champion as a sophomore, while also finishing as the runner-up her junior season.
Madison definitely didn’t disappoint during her senior campaign. She took third place individually in the SEK standings and captured the Class 4A regional championship by five strokes on her home course at Woodlawn Hills. It was the second straight year she won the regional title after doing so one year earlier in Independence.
“I knew I had tough competition in every one of my tournaments, so I would need to stay focused every week,” Madison said. “I told myself since this is the last year I just want to have fun and cherish the moments.”
Making a fourth straight appearance at state, Madison shot an 85 on the first day at Hesston Golf Course to keep herself in contention for a state title. She would eventually cap things off with an 86 for a two-day total of 171 for fourth place overall.
“I definitely had expectations for myself and I was hoping to get third or better,” Madison said. “I would say I played pretty well. Going into the second day, I was tied for third place and so that gave me a lot of confidence going into the final round. I was pretty sad knowing that it was over, not necessarily because of getting to continue to compete but because of the people I have met and the friendships I have made through golf.”
That proved to be the final athletic competition in Madison’s high school career. She had already decided to focus on academics in college instead of going anywhere to play golf.
“I think I definitely need a break,” Madison said. “I love the game of golf, but I am ready to just be able to go out and play for fun. I am comfortable ending with the results I had this last year. I am ready to focus on my career and the next chapter of my life.”
That next chapter will lead to the University of Kansas, where she will study biology on a track for pre-medicine. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, she plans on applying to the KU School of Medicine to attend medical school for three years.
“I plan to be a general family physician in a rural Kansas community,” Madison said. “I have been playing competitive golf since around age nine, so I am ready to just be able to go out and play for fun when I want and focus on my career.”
In addition to her golf career, Madison has been active in many other activities at Fort Scott High School, including Key Club, Educators Rising, FBLA, Interact, National Honors Society, Safe Team, Science Club, Art Club and Student Council. She was also the Class of 2020 Secretary, was on the 4.0 Honor Roll for four years and was a KU Honors Scholar.
“Being a Fort Scott Tiger has given me the best four years of my life and memories I will cherish forever,” Madison said. “Being involved within the school and planning all kinds of things with my best friends and then the golf experience as a whole definitely added to my years as a Tiger. I am proud to be a Fort Scott Tiger.”
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT LAUREN MADISON …
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS What are some of your interests and hobbies away from school?
MADISON: “I love to hangout with my friends and go to the lake. I have three jobs, so I’m usually working.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS Who is your favorite athlete? Favorite sports team? Favorite music group/singer?
MADISON: “I don’t really have a favorite famous athlete, but the one that sticks out to me is my friend Whitney Pyle, who played golf for K-State, works at Ironhorse Golf Club in Kansas City where she gave me lessons, and she has been aspiring to be a part of the WPGA. My favorite sports team would be KU Basketball. My favorite singer is probably Hailee Steinfeld, but I love all different types of music.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS Who are the people that you look up to as far as role models?
MADISON: “My number one role model is definitely my mother. She has raised me on her own while being a big part of our community. She is one of the strongest and most hardworking people I know.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS What is a fun fact about you that people may or may not know?
MADISON: “One thing a lot of people might not know about me is I used to show livestock, and 4-H has been a huge part of my life for the last 12 years. It has definitely helped me gain a lot of leadership skills and responsibility over the years.”