Taylor Baker Leads Girls Golf


Ashley Lundberg, Mirada Staff

With an expert swing of her 9-iron, Taylor Baker sends the ball flying up in a high arc, landing softly on the green of the fourth hole at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course. The ball spins back, inching its way closer and closer to the hole.

The No. 1 freshman has once again hit a perfect iron shot onto the green, leading the Rio women’s golf team to a 212-252 win over El Camino en route to playoffs.

Although the young player has already had much success in her short career, for her it is not the best part of playing for her school.

“My favorite part of the Rio golf team is learning how to play as a team and for a team,” she said. “I also love being surrounded by all of the amazing girls on the team.”

Baker, who also plays golf tournaments individually, feels that there are many differences between playing as a team and by yourself.

“Playing as an individual you want to perform for yourself and there is more pressure from yourself to play well,” she said. “Playing on a team you want to perform for your team and your school.”

During the first round of playoffs, Baker shot a 73, which advanced her to the next round, the Masters, which was held at The Reserve at Spanos Park. There Baker shot a 78 in difficult conditions.

“I’m happy I made it as far as I did, but I definitely wish I made it further,” she said. “Next year I am hoping to go as far as I can.”

With her cheerful attitude and level-headedness on the course and off, it is not surprising that Baker’s favorite pro golfers–Viktor Hovland and Rachel Heck- are known for their positive attitude and balanced approach to golf and life.

“Hovland is always smiling, has a great work ethic, and doesn’t let a bad round get to him,” Baker said. “Rachel Heck is also one of my favorite players for those same reasons and because she is so outgoing and balances golf with so many other things. (She is) a great role model and represents the sport in an incredible manner.”

Baker also used to swim competitively. This offseason, however, she has been completely focused on her golf game, including playing individual competitions.

“I usually practice six to seven days a week at local courses like Haggin Oaks and Ancil Hoffman,” Baker said. “Tournaments are starting to pick up, so I am getting ready for those.”

Baker has also been busy with her first year of high school, enjoying her science class with teacher Anne Tweedy. 

“Biology is my favorite class because I have learned so much, and because all the activities we do in that class are so fun,” Baker said.

When she is not out playing on the links or practicing her already-superb putting, Baker enjoys a variety of other activities.

“Besides golf, I really enjoy hiking, spending time with friends, and walking with my dog,” she said.

But for Baker, golf will always provide excitement.

“You never know what the next shot will be and that there are endless possibilities,” she said. “Every course is so different and no hole is exactly alike, so there are infinite shots that you can learn how to hit. … There’s no end to golf, which I love.”