As sad as it sounds, Kelli Ann Strand has always had a new relationship with her 6-iron.
Not like the rest of us, mind you.
The rest of us golfers tend to rinse those 6 on Friday and then vacuum them on Sunday. On again, off again.
Strand’s 6 iron relationship is less complicated.
The Challis Junior plays the front tees during the high school season and follows that with a summer schedule that often pushes them back to the white tees and even the tips.
That means mostly wedge-neck hits in the spring and more numbered clubs in the summer. On again, off again.
But don’t make a mistake. Strand’s 6 iron is on. Whether in the bottom of the bag in spring or in the top of the bag in summer, this 6 iron is like Donkey Kong.
And based on the results, every other stick is in her pocket too,
Strand was in a class of its own in 2021 and received her second Post Register All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year award.
“It’s a big difference, the high school season and the summer,” said Strand. “It’s tougher, but sometimes it’s nice to have that extra distance to play.”
Strand again dominated the field in the 2A State Championship, carding a 9-under 66-69-135 at the Circling Raven Golf Club to win the title by 25 strokes.
And if there was a question about what would have happened if there had been a championship in all categories, Strand settled that debate – twice.
Strand qualified for the Junior World Championships at the IMG Junior World Qualifier, scoring an even par 69-75-144 at Canyon Springs in Twin Falls – beating state 5A medalist Emily Caldwell (Boise) by four, 4A medalist Margaret Smock (Bishop Kelly) with 31 and 3A individual champion Reece Garey (Kimberly) with 16.
A week later, Strand was 6-under of the white tees at the Dropping Junior Championship at BanBury in Eagle 6-under with a 71-67-69-207, seven strokes better than runner-up Caldwell, 41 ahead of Smock and 54 ahead of Garey.
“Everything came together somehow,” said Strand. “I’ve gained a lot of distance in the last two years, I’ve improved my iron game and I feel like I’m getting a lot more (bird) looks. Then it’s just a matter of coming up and down and avoiding the nightmares. “
After a try at the IGA Women’s State Amateur from July 8th to 10th in Falcon Crest (Kuna), Strand will take her 6-iron to the IMG Junior World Championships in San Diego.
But as the saying goes, you can get the golfer out of Challis, but you can’t take Challis out of the golfer.
“In winter, it’s sometimes hard to hit just one mat,” she said. “But I’m really happy to have such a great home course this summer. They work really hard on it and I just love it. “