DURAND — Emme Lantis isn’t afraid of hard work.
“She’s on the course 8-10 hours a day,” Durand girls golf Cecil Cole says.
But if you talk to Lantis, that number is a little short.
“I would come out here at 7 a.m. and would be playing, sometimes, until I couldn’t see the ball,” she said last week.
The work has paid off so far. She’s been the medalist in all four events she’s played in this fall.
Spurred by last year’s disappointment, when she came up a stroke short of getting to the state meet, Lantis made a couple of changes in the offseason.
“I really grew as a golfer from last year to this year,” she said. “I worked much harder and played throughout the winter and summer.”
Lantis spent weekends playing in junior tournaments in Florida last winter. “That was a really good experience for me,” she said.
She also improved her mental approach and saw her game get better as a result.
“I realized you can’t have a fit, or let one bad hole ruin your whole game,” Lantis said. “After all the tears and everything I went through before, I overcame that, and my scores started to go lower.”
In addition to golf, Lantis competes in equestrian events on a national level. Her older sister, Miller, is a member of the University of Georgia equestrian team.
While she enjoys equestrian, she wants to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Amy, who played golf for Michigan State.
“I thought it would be fun to do what my mom did in college,” Lantis said. “My grandparents used to own Chippewa Hills Golf Course. They had a good time with that, and my mom loved it, so I thought I would try it out. Now I love it.”
And she puts in the work, both at Dutch Hollow Golf Course, the Railroaders’ home course, and with a swing coach at MSU.
“He helps me with everything, my nutrition, my workouts. Everything,” Lantis said.
Between golf and equestrian, she’s developed an appreciation of hard work.
“They’re both hard-working sports,” Lantis said. “You’ve got to work at both. It takes blood, sweat and tears, and if you don’t put those three things in, then you’re not going to be the best you can be.”
Lantis’ work on the course paid off this summer on the Callaway/Meijer Junior, where she was named the player of the year in the Girls 15-19 division.
“She puts in more work than any girl I’ve ever coached,” Cole said. “Nothing comes easy to her. I can’t tell you how many times she’s played 18, then nine more holes, then (goes) to the driving range. She works and works and works.
“On top of that, she’s got a great attitude. She’s always so happy-go-lucky. She’s a no-worry cat.”
She also practiced her driving this summer.
“They haven’t been bad, but I’ve got new clubs and a new driver,” Lantis said. “So it was me figuring out how to work with my new clubs.”
Lantis also played basketball at Durand for a season before devoting herself to golf.
Speaking of preparation, Lantis brought several sheets of paper with written responses when interviewed last week — but never looked at them.
She did, however, make it a point to thank nearly everyone involved with her career.
“I couldn’t do what I do without coach Cole and his support,” Lantis said. “He’s always so positive. We’re always playing games at practice, and the other girls and my fellow competitors are supportive. We all get along, and it’s so much fun.”
Judging by her fast start, the fun is just beginning.