Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Allegan’s Bronkema records first hole in one

Allegan’s Zoe Bronkema collected her first hole in one when she aced the 140-yard 17th hole at Clearbrook Golf Club in Saugatuck. Bronkema, who will be a senior during the 2022-23 school year, has competed at the MHSAA state finals the past two seasons. (Photo provided)

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

SAUGATUCK—With her round coming to an end at Clearbrook Golf Club on Monday, July 11, Zoe Bronkema admits that her level of concentration wasn’t quite where it usually is.
“It was kind of a weird round,” said Bronkema, a senior-to-be at Allegan High School who was playing as part of the Girls Lakeshore Golf League. “We had a rain delay midway through the round that lasted about 30 or 40 minutes and I kind of lost my focus a little bit after.”
Another delay prior to the 17th hole—the second to last of Bronkema’s round—didn’t help matters.
“When we got to the 17th, the group in front of us wasn’t done yet,” Bronkema said. “So, we had to wait at the tee box until they were done and I was trying not to let my mind wander too much.”
As it turned out, Bronkema managed to muster enough focus as her tee shot on the 140-yard 17th hole came to rest in the cup for a hole in one.
It was the first ace of Bronkema’s young career.
“When I saw (the ball) go in the hole, I was shocked,” Bronkema said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it. It was really exciting.”
Bronkema got to share the moment with her father Ken, who was serving as her caddie for the day.
“When the ball was in the air, my dad said he thought it looked good,” Bronkema said. “It was cool to be able have him there for my first hole in one.”
Amid the celebration, Bronkema couldn’t help but give her dad a little good-natured ribbing.
“I had to let him know that I got my first hole in one before he got his,” Bronkema said. “That’s something I’ll probably have to remind him of from time to time.”
It was Ken Bronkema who initially encouraged his daughter to give golf a try during her freshman year at Allegan.
For much of that first season, Brokema questioned whether or not she wanted to continue with the sport.
“To be honest, I wasn’t having a lot of fun for the first half of my freshman season,” Bronkema said. “I was new to golf and I wasn’t very good at it. That made it tough to enjoy.”
But not only did Bronkema stick it out during her freshman year, but she also decided to come back as a sophomore. That season ended with Allegan qualifying for the Division 3 state finals as a team, marking the first of Bronkema’s two appearances at the finals thus far.
Last season, she was one of two Allegan players—along with Macarena Garcia—to qualify for the state finals as individuals. She placed 49th overall.
Allegan girls golf coach Steve Angle is impressed with the improvement Bronkema has made in a relatively short period of time.
“Zoe has worked hard the past two years,” Angle said. “She made huge progress between her sophomore year and junior year, working her way into an All-Conference player and qualifying for the state finals.
“She’s so competitive. And now she’s the first golfer in our program to have a hole in one. She’s going to have a lot of highlights during her senior year.”
Bronkema hopes those highlights include another trip to the state finals as a team.
“Playing in the state finals was fun both of the last two years, but it was so special when we qualified as a team,” Bronkema said. “That’s what I want for this year. Sure, I have individual goals I want to accomplish. But my biggest goal is for us to qualify for the finals as a team and to be able to experience that together.”
To that end, several of the Allegan players have been meeting on Tuesdays this summer.
“We do stuff on the range, just trying to get better,” Bronkema said. “There are usually about four girls there, depending on what everyone has going on with work and family and other obligations.
“It should be a fun season. I’m really excited about it.”
Bronkema is also excited about the prospects of continuing her golfing career after high school. She has talked to several college coaches and hopes to make a decision by the end of the high school season in late October.
“I’ve had a good time talking to the different college coaches and learning about their programs,” she said. “There are some good choices. I just want to make sure I take my time and pick the one that’s the best for me.”
The fact that she will be golfing in college after she considered quitting the sport as a freshman wasn’t lost on Bronkema.
“I’m glad I kept pushing through as a freshman because I would have missed out on so much if I had quit,” she said. “It’s so important to not give up and keep working hard because good things usually happen when you do.”
Things like a hole in one.

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