- Golfer Benefits
SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts — When she was 7 years old, Granby native Ryley Regan started a routine. She would set an alarm at 5 a.m. on her Alexa device at home, get dressed, eat breakfast and ask her father, “Can you take me to the golf course before school?”
She’d play anywhere from 4 to 9 holes at The Orchards Golf Club and then get dropped off for school by 8 a.m. And throughout the day, she’d be clamoring to get back out there in the afternoon.
“She would do that every day, even in November when there’s frost on the ground,” said Mike Regan, Ryley’s father. “The ground’s crew would say, ‘If she’s doing it, we’ll let her go.'”
The Regans have been members at The Orchards for the past decade, and those morning golf sessions were leading up to one of Ryley’s greatest opportunities to date.
Now 11 years old, Regan is the lone Orchards member representing the host club at the 119th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur. On Monday morning, she teed off on hole 10, alongside a pair of 14 year olds — Maddie Smith (Mount Pleasant Golf Club) and Riley Eames (MIAA) — making for one of the youngest groupings in the history of the championship.
“I feel really good that I’m representing my golf club,” said Regan, who was rocking cantaloupe-colored shirt with The Orchards logo on it Monday. “I just want to have two good rounds, and then if I make it into match play that would be really cool.”
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Like most kids, Regan got her start in team sports like soccer and baseball. But it was the golf course where she truly found her passion.
“I liked that I could just like take my time and have a good time,” Regan said. “Other sports, you always have to be super competitive and you have to win. With golf you just get to take your time.”
It wasn’t long before she tried her hand at competitive golf events, such as Connecticut Section PGA Junior Golf tournaments. In the lead-up to this Mass Women’s Amateur, Regan competed in the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst.
“I got to meet a lot of new people, and it’s fun playing a new course,” said Regan, who said she’s made friends from as far away as Texas. Many of them try to sign-up for the same events, she said.
Ryley isn’t alone in her golf pursuits. Her younger sisters Addison, 9, Finley, 6, and Delainey, 5, have all tried the game as well. (One member said the family is often spotted on course fixing divots). Addison also competed in the U.S. Kids World Championship last week, and the entire family was following along Monday to watch the Ryley compete.
Keith Cunningham, the head golf professional at The Orchards, has played golf and done lessons with all the Regan sisters. He said Ryley in particular is tough to get off the course.
“She has to get told to go home, like we have to go eat dinner, Ryley,” Cunningham said with a chuckle.
In terms of development, Cunningham noted two things in particular. “Her short game development and her mental game, this year has been really elevated.”
Though her father ultimately introduced her to golf, he’s always made sure that it’s Ryley who has a steadfast commitment to playing and practicing, not the other way around.
“She begs to come up here every single day,” he said. “This is what she wants to do, and we just try to make it fun.”
Be on the look out for the Regans for many, many years to come.
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