Sports

She's on the Ball

Julie Shutler from Manteca's Sierra High School, girls golfer of the year.
Julie Shutler from Manteca's Sierra High School, girls golfer of the year. Modesto Bee

If you watch the ball as it leaves Julie Shutler's club, it arches into the air while soaring down the fairway, eventually bouncing a few times before rolling to a stop some 250 yards from the tee.

The lengthy drive, however, aren't the result of a monstrous swing that leaves the Sierra High senior's arms and legs askew. She is quite relaxed while approaching the ball, creating a lag that allows the club to generate power as it slingshots through the ball.

"I changed my swing in the middle of the summer," said Shutler, who was playing in one or two tournaments each week. "My swing was too long, and I wasn't getting enough power. I played a lot of tournaments, so I was practicing as I played."

The adjustment paid off, though, as Shutler added length to her drive, while preserving her accuracy off the tee.

Those improvements carried into the high school campaign, as Shutler dominated the Valley Oak League and won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship with a 2-over 75 -- her low score for the season -- at Diamond Oaks Golf Course in Roseville.

Shutler eventually earned her way into the Northern California Tournament, and today her season is capped by being selected The Bee's Golfer of the Year.

"I had some bad holes during the summer, while I was changing my swing, but I tried to quickly put them out of my mind and stayed focused on the long-term goal of a better swing," Shutler said.

Looking ahead

Shutler was looking beyond this season when she changed her swing, realizing she would need the extra distance to play college golf. She was the two-time VOL Player of the Year and won the Division IV title as a junior, as well.

She'll get the opportunity to continue her career at Sacramento State, after accepting a scholarship offer from the Hornets. The financial package is worth $13,600 a year.

Shutler is one of the prized recruits for first-year coach and former PGA player David Sutherland, and comes into a program that won the Big Sky Conference last spring and played in the NCAA West Regional for the first time.

"I'd like to study business and eventually tie it into the golf industry," said Shutler, who has an interest in becoming a club pro or a course manager after college.

"There were other schools, but Sac State had the best package and Sutherland can do a lot to improve my game."

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