Fore-ward thinking sparks Prospect's Scaccia
- Photos (1)
Prospect's Ally Scaccia putts on No. 9 at Fox Run Golf Course during her winning effort in Tuesday's Mid-Suburban League meet.
George LeClaire | Staff Photographer
The Prospect freshman golfer who was shooting in the 50s for nine holes is a senior now.
And one of the best in the state.
Yes, Ally Scaccia could put on a clinic for the familiar 'hard work pays off' pattern.
The native of Arlington Heights developed her game so well that she has earned herself a chance to play at the Division I level.
Scaccia, who earlier this season fired a school-record 69 at the Prospect Invite, made a verbal commitment on Sept. 23 to play for Bradley University.
"I just wanted to improve, that's all I could really think of my freshman year," Scaccia said of the remarkable progress she made. "I knew I was a beginner and I really just wanted to get better and started to work really hard at it and now I am here."
"Here" is a pretty nice spot. Scaccia is a leader of one of the state's elite programs, directed by Jim Hamann.
"Coach Hamann and the other girls all pushed me to keep improving," Scaccia said. "I was able to get better because coach Hamann had all of these amazing short game drills that we worked on all year and the girls kept pushing me because they were improving. We always push each other but we always have the most fun of any team."
Scaccia plans to have fun at Bradley where she will be reunited with former teammate Allison Walsh, the 2011 IHSA state champion and sister of current Knight Kiley.
"I was looking for a good fit where I would be able to balance my school work with golf," Scaccia said. "Bradley fits right into this category. They have a great practice facility, the golf courses are phenomenal, it is a great school and not too far from home.
"And the way coach (Mary) Swanson coaches is about the same as coach Hamann coached me, which is something that I took into consideration. I am looking forward to playing for her in my next four years of golf. She is a great person and an awesome coach."
Scaccia's awesome improvement on the golf course also came while she was putting in plenty of time in the classroom.
She has been in high honors all four years as well a Knight's Way Leader and LINK leader.
She is involved with the Prospect Leadership Committee and service club.
Scaccia played freshman and sophomore basketball, too, but it was golf that became her passion.
"I started playing golf my freshman year because my sister (Sarah) had started her freshman year and said it was a ton of fun," Ally said. "So I gave it a go. I was going to play volleyball instead, but changed my mind in the summer going into freshman year."
That's when Bill and Jennifer bought their youngest daughter a starters set of clubs.
Scaccia played her first competitive tournament during her freshman golf season.
"I didn't really get into the game and start playing a lot of summer tournaments until my sophomore year," she said. "I never really knew that I could get to where I am now."
But after her sophomore year, Scaccia began to fall in love with the game.
"All I could do was golf, golf, golf and that is when I started to think about playing college golf," she said.
It was at the end of the summer heading into her junior year when Scaccia decided she wanted to try and play Division 1 golf.
At that time, she started making shots that were lowering her score considerably.
"My favorite part of the game is the feeling you get when you hit a great shot," Scaccia said. "Coach Hamann says there are only about five to seven really good shots in an 18-hole round, which I believe is true."
Making those shots is what makes golf so much fun for Scaccia.
"For me, those five to seven shots make me feel so good inside and I would never trade that feeling for the world," she said. "I love being out on the course every day.
Scaccia can't go a day without touching a club. If she doesn't, she feels like she hasn't played in a week.
"I think that this is the reason why not only I but the whole Prospect golf team is so successful," she said. "Because we all love the game so much we can never get away from it."
Scaccia's inspiration for the game came from her parents and sister.
"I would never have even started golf if it weren't for my older sister Sarah," she said. "And my parents have supported me every step of the way. From watching me on the course from a distance from buying me new clubs, paying for tournaments, lessons and everything else, they have been there for me. I can't thank them enough."
Hamann and swing coach John Elliott were the mentors who taught Scaccia how to swing the clubs.
"They have taught me everything I know about the game," Scaccia said. "I started golf never even swinging a club. Because of them, I am the player I am today and I am going to play division 1 golf at a top program. I cannot thank Ham and John enough for all of the time, work and effort they have put into their players."
Playing for Prospect has made it even easier for Scaccia to succeed.
"I love every moment with my team and coach and would not trade one second for the world," she said. "We are a family. It hurts that I won't have my best friends by my side in the years to come. But I know that we will always keep in touch and I will see them when I come home on breaks."
"It is a great honor to be on the same team with so many great people that I love so much. I am so happy I have been a part of something so special in my four years at Prospect."
And Scaccia has been a special player.
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