Greenwood golfer Sydnie Gamble is living proof of just how successful the First Tee of Fort Smith has become. Next month, Gamble and Southside golfer Will Gibson will participate in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in California.
“It’s been my dream since I started out here,” Gamble said. “I’ve seen everybody go through the program, and I’ve heard the stories. They say it’s just the best experience they’ve ever had.”
Gamble is the second female golfer from the First Tee of Fort Smith to be selected to go to Pebble Beach, following in the footsteps of Addison Mitchell.
Gamble isn’t just a good golfer, she’s the face of the First Tee program.
“I know she’s going to be a great ambassador; a great example for the First Tee,” First Tee of Fort Smith program director Chris Murphy said. “She started out here at age 3, and she’s worked herself all the way up through the ranks. She’s now an ace level participant, a state champion (Greenwood). She’s a heck of a player, but more so she’s a better person.
“She’s a great citizen and a great role model for kids to look up to.”
Gamble was crowned the 2014 6A medalist champion. Last year, she finished runner-up.
“I would like to win medalist again,” Gamble said.
Being competitive on the golf course means constant work. To help improve her swing, Gamble said she’s changed ‘swing’ coaches.
Bentonville pro Phillip Walker was straight forward with Gamble. “He said my swing was ugly,” she said.
Starting with her grip, Gamble believes she has reinvented what was already a pretty solid game.
“We have rebuilt my swing from the bottom up,” Gamble said. “I go see him every other week, and I practice 24/7.
“I’ve seen major improvements.”
“Our kids really enjoy when she (Gamble) can get out here,” Murphy said. “She’s busy with tournaments and with school. When she can get out here, you can see it in the kids’ eyes.”