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NORTON, Massachusetts – A native daughter of Arizona, and an adopted child of the Bay State, Megan Buck has had more than her fair share of success at the amateur level, with her most recent being a win in the 2020 New England Golf Association Women’s Championship at North Conway Country Club. We caught up with Megan after her big win last week.
This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.
Mass Golf: You’ve played in plenty of amateur events at the collegiate level, the state level, and even the national level, what stands out most in your experience in high level amateur golf?
Megan Buck: Thinking back on all levels of golf that I have played, the thing that always comes to mind are the people. Of course I love the competitiveness, and the moments of great play…but at the end of the day I love all of the people that golf has brought into my life. The highlight of all tournaments these days is the group of friends that I travel and play with. No matter how I play, I know that we will have lots of laughs after the round talking about our highs and lows of the day.
MG: You played your high school and collegiate golf in Arizona, what ended up bringing you out to Massachusetts?
MB: While still living in AZ, I traveled out to New England several times for work trips and I fell in love with the history and the weather. When a sales job opportunity came up in Massachusetts, it just seemed to be the right decision.
MG: When did you really start playing the game of golf, and what lead you to that?
MB: I started to get more serious about golf the year before I started high school…so I guess I was about 13. It was in high school that I started to improve and really fell in love with the game. Up until that time, I was more focused on basketball. Being on the golf team in high school made it more fun to me, and I believe that lead to me playing better and gaining confidence.
MG: What’s the difference in playing “Northeast” golf to playing “southwest” golf?
MB: There are trees and rough in the Northeast! When I first started playing in MA, it took time to learn to chip around the greens where there is often thick rough. Desert courses will always hold a special place in my heart…I love the openness and distinction between the green fairways and the desert. My clubs appreciate Northeast golf where there is always grass and I am not hitting off rocks/dirt in the desert.
MG: Who are some of the biggest influences on your game? Could be from past or present?
MB: It sounds cliché, but my dad is the largest influence on my game. He is the one who got me started with trips to the range as a child, where I mostly just watched him hit and had more fun collecting broken tees. As I grew and got more into the game, he never pressured me to play. Now as an adult, it is so much fun to have his support. He is a good player, so we always have competitive matches when I visit. No matter how old I get, it is always fun to beat dad.
MG: Tell us a bit about making it the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-AM last year, returning to your old stomping grounds in Arizona must have been pretty special.
MB: The Mid-Am last year was very special to me for many reasons. It was so much fun to be back in my college town and walk down memory lane. I was able visit with my college coach and spend some time with the current players at NAU. Being close to home, also meant that my parents and many friends were able to be there and watch me play. It was cool to play Forest Highlands which was a course that we played several times in college. I felt like my golf game improved a lot during the season last Summer, and I proved that to myself at the Mid-Am. Making it to the quarterfinals is something that I am proud of, and it taught me that I belong and can compete on that level. I sure wish I could go back to my college days with the more mature and patient attitude that I now take with me into a round of golf.
MG: What are you most proud of in your golf career so far?
MB: I am proud of my finish at the US Women’s Mid-Am last year. Up until that point, I struggled being confident enough and didn’t really believe that I could compete at that level.
MG: What’s the one part of your game you can always rely on no matter what?
MB: I would say my ability to stay patient and keep a good attitude. This is definitely something new for me over the past year, and I believe it is the main reason for any success that I have seen. I used to be so hard on myself and get upset after one bad hole and allow that to ruin my entire round. While it isn’t always easy, I keep a positive attitude and that keeps me in any round and tournament.
MG: You play in several mass golf events, is there any one thing in particular that keeps you competing and signing up for these events?
MB: The main reason I play in Mass golf events is for the competition. We cannot take for granted how well Mass Golf does in organizing and running golf events. From course selection, to course setup and all the little details in between everything is at a high level. We are also lucky to have so many elite players here in MA, so that leads to local events having a feel of events on the national level.
MG: What else is on schedule this season for you competitively? How have you adapted to the changes in events and uncertainty of it all leading up to most?
MB: The next event on my schedule is the Women’s Four Ball Championship which I will play with Shannon Johnson. After that I will play in the Ouimet and the Women’s Am. When events (especially national events like the USGA Mid-AM) began being postponed or cancelled, I was definitely upset. I always fill in my Summer tournament schedule early in the year, and have had to accept that this is not a year that can be planned. I will continue to practice and play as if events will go as planned through the end of the year. To see success this year I think we have to be flexible…whether that is with the tournament schedule or things being done differently at the events themselves.
MG: How did you stay fresh during quarantine? We hear that you enjoy running, was that a part of it?
MB: It was certainly not easy to stay fresh during quarantine, and I do not think I did a great job of it. I do enjoy running…and when you enjoy food and beverages the way I do, getting out to run is a necessity. I love being outside, so I use running as a reason to get out and explore my town.
Rapid Fire Questions:
MG: Dogs or Cats?
MB: Dogs 100%.
MG: Twitter or Instagram?
MG: Chocolate or Vanilla?
MG: Dream golf foursome?
MB: People who play fast.
MG: Favorite sport besides golf?
MB: To play, Basketball. To watch on TV, NFL.
MG: Walking or Riding?
MG: Favorite course you’ve ever played?
MB: Quintero in AZ.
MG: Favorite club in your bag?
MB: Ping i210 UW (50*).
MG: Guilty pleasure snack?
MB: French fries.
MG: What is your spirit animal?
MB: Honey Badger.