2003: College - Daughter takes after Fuzzy

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By Beth Ann Baldry

When it comes to golf and life, Gretchen Zoeller takes her cues from her father, Fuzzy.

The 18-year-old says they both take the game seriously, but only to a point.

“Our personalities might be spitting images of each other,” Gretchen said. “On the course we like to laugh, make others laugh.”

As a freshman at the College of Charleston (S.C.), Gretchen played in three of five fall events and was fourth on the team with an 80.25 average.

“I felt like I never played a solid tournament but I learned a lot, and that’s what needed to happen,” she said.

The lure of the ocean, warm weather and team chemistry convinced the Floyd Knobs, Ind., resident and her family that Charleston was a good fit. “It was everything I was looking for,” she says.

Fuzzy and Diane Zoeller introduced each of their four children to golf at a young age, but only Gretchen decided to take the game seriously at age 11.

After a two-year hiatus at ages 14-15, Gretchen played high school golf for three years and also was on her school’s tennis and swim teams.

Because she is the daughter of a popular professional player, Zoeller says people often have high expectations.

“You’ve always got those people who think I’m going to go out there and win every tournament,” she says, “and that’s not how it works. . . . I know there are girls out there who can beat the pants off me.”

But Gretchen insists she feels no pressure, and credits her father for lightening the load.

Neither father nor daughter are keen on seeking the assistance of a teaching professional. “I don’t have a pro to go to regularly and probably never will,” says Gretchen. “I guess it’s because we are German and don’t like to be told what to do.”

Another thing the Zoellers shy away from is the practice range. “Dad and I both hate hitting balls on the range,” she says. “We hit about three balls and head to the tee.” When their games are slumping, however, father and daughter load up Fuzzy’s Hummer and head to the back of the range at Covered Bridge Golf Course in Sellersburg, Ind., where they crank music and pound balls. They “can’t listen to rap because that’s never going to happen,” she says. “So we compromise and usually listen to oldies.”

Gretchen is not ruling out pro golf after graduation, but says she would be satisfied with a career in real estate.

“If my game is there, I’d love to try it and see what it’s like,” she says. “If not, I can’t wait to get out in the working field.”

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