Lives in: Saco
Saco’s Emily Bouchard isn’t one to shy away from competition. Bouchard, who helped take Thornton Academy to a state golf title in 2004, has become a regular name across championship leader boards in Maine. Just last month, Bouchard won the Maine Women’s Amateur championship and she and her father took home the Dunegrass mixed male-female competition trophy last year, and she also won the 2010 Pro-Lady Championship at the Springbrook Golf Club.
At 22, Bouchard has been playing golf for almost half her life, having picked up the sport at the age of 12. However, she confesses that a few years back, the constant stream of events and practicing almost caused her to lose her love of the game. Bouchard has since dialed back on her competitive goals, and while she still participates in tournaments and plays for the Daniel Webster College men’s golf team, she has no plans to turn pro once she graduates. Instead, Bouchard hopes to go into aviation, where she would like to serve as an air traffic controller.
It should also be said that Bouchard’s athletic talents are hardly limited to golf. Throughout high school, she competed in skiing, girls ice hockey and basketball.
She is also a diehard Boston Bruins fan, and unlike many so-called “pink hats” who were drawn to teams like the Red Sox and the Bruins following the championship victories, Bouchard hasn’t missed watching a Bruins game in seven years.
Bouchard’s first love remains golf, though, and she is likely to remain one of Maine’s premier female amateur golfers for years to come.
How did you get involved and how long have you been involved with your sport?
When I was really young – like in the single digits – my father took me out every now and then. But I didn’t have much interest until I was about 12, and then I started playing pretty much every day. My parents could drop me off at practice at 9 in the morning and I would be out there mostly alone all day doing it. I just got sucked into it – the competition, and the desire to better my score. Golf can be very frustrating at times, and you can go out and have an overall bad round. But the next day you can come back out and hit a 60-foot putt, and that draws you right back in. I’ve learned that when you get frustrated, it’s not something you can dwell on for a long time, and that is something that has really shaped me as a person. I have learned so much playing golf – not just out there, but afterward just sitting on the deck and meeting people and listening what they have to say. You never stop learning.
What fuels your passion?
It’s definitely improving (my game). Although there is only so much you can improve. I am not saying that I am perfect, but back when I was younger there was a lot more room to make improvements then there is now. I will always try to be better, if better is possible, and “good” is not good enough. That’s what you should always keep reaching for – to go as far as you can go.
What female athletes have inspired you?
Annika So?renstam, just because of the name she created for herself within women’s golf. And then across other sports there are figures like Novak Djokovic (in tennis) who has risen to be one of the No. 1 players in the world, or guys like Adam Scott. I admire Phil Mickelson, although I haven’t always been a big fan of him. My grandmother struggled to beat cancer, and when I saw Phil supporting cancer, you’re never going to catch me rooting against him again.
What are your goals??
I’d like to defend my amateur title next summer if I am going to be around, which I should be. I liked playing with my father, so I’d like to do that again. I also actually qualified for a USGA event down in Georgia in October, and while I don’t go in there with intentions of winning it, I’d really like to go down there and have some fun.
What advice do you have for a woman taking up your sport?
Unfortunately, when I was learning the sport, I almost never ran into girls. I spent a lot of time playing golf either by myself or with the boys, and I know how that can be. I would say that you shouldn’t ever be afraid to compete with the boys – you can learn just as much as if you were paired with women. Just take what you can from it. Also, golf is frustrating at times, and being patient with your game is a big part of success. If you stick with it, the lessons you will learn and the people you will meet will just be never ending.