When Marsha Janofsky returned as Peachtree Ridge’s girls golf coach last year, one of the first things she did was track down Yedam Lee.
Janofsky chuckles when she remembers pulling the sophomore out of a class to ask if she was going to play for the Lions.
Lee has played golf nearly every day, weather permitting, since she was 7. She moved from Virginia to Gwinnett in middle school and is a member of the AJGA and GSGA, but she hadn’t played for the Lions.
“Which makes it even more impressive that she didn’t play as a freshman and she walked on last year,” said Janofsky, who coached the team for six seasons before taking a three-year hiatus.
“We were all blown away.”
Lee, part of the Daily Post’s 2020 Super Six, won the Area 4-AAAAAAA title and finished fourth overall at state. Her 78-73—151 was just a shot off Gwinnett’s top scorer, Mill Creek then-senior Tess Davenport, and led the Lions to fourth place in the team standings.
The best thing, though, was Lee actually enjoyed the game.
“High school (golf) is so much better. It’s so much fun,” Lee said. “The thing is, because you have a teammate, whenever you do bad, you cheer each other up.”
Lee knows the Lions depend on her and that she can depend on them.
Janofsky laughed about a tournament Lee and fellow Super Sixer Bridget Hoang played together last season.
“They were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re terrible,’” Janofsky said with a wide grin. “Then we won the tournament and Yedam was the low medalist.
“But she’s very disciplined. She may ask how so-and-so is doing, but otherwise she’s just playing her game. She says she gets upset, but you certainly can’t ever see it. It’s a stoic face.”
Lee, who loves to stop for Dairy Queen after a round, won’t even eat on the course because it’s a distraction. She has tunnel vision and from the beginning, fun wasn’t the objective.
“My parents wanted me to do something,” said Lee, who is an only child.
A member at their church suggested golf for the second-grader.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” Lee said. “I didn’t even know it was a sport. The next day I started playing every day. Honestly, I was in shock.
“My dad saw potential in me. I was pretty strong at that age. From what I remember, I went to the range and then I got a coach. Then I started playing.”
The natural ability Lee had didn’t keep the game’s inevitable frustrations at bay.
“Me and my dad fought a lot when I was younger,” she said. “I hated golf. Me and my dad are really close, but whenever it came to golf, he was so strict.”
The balance shifted, though Lee, laughingly, still won’t cop to actually liking the sport outside of the high school season.
“I’m still waiting,” she said with a smile. “Golf, some days I do good and some days I do so bad.”
Janofsky jumped in.
“But Yedam’s idea of bad, she’s shooting two strokes over,” the coach said. “She’s so hard on herself.”
Lee looks back at last year’s prep season and mostly sees places to improve despite surging to a top-five finish at state with a closing-round 73.
“It was my first time in every high school tournament. I was nervous in every one,” she said. “But honestly, last year was really fun. It was a good experience for me to play and practice and talk with other people who played.
“I have to remind myself not to think about anything else but my game. No matter who you’re competing with, it doesn’t matter. If you do well, that’s your score. I feel like I just have to focus on myself and my team.”