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Izzy Stone : Making Her Way To An LPGA Tour

Izzy Stone
Making Her Way To An LPGA Tour
story by Nathan Livesay     photos by Susan DeLoach
Teenagers with big dreams are pretty common. But finding one who is doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality is not common at all.  Izzy Stone, a 16 year old golfer from Beaufort, is one of those rare people whose work ethic matches her dreams.  Her dream is to play college golf, join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour and make the 2024 United States Olympic team.  And, she is dedicating her whole life to making that happen.
It only takes a few minutes with Izzy to recognize her determination and drive. You can see her passion for improvement and love for the game of golf.  Fortune may have brought golf to Izzy, but it is her competitive nature and grit that have allowed her to make an incredibly rapid progression as a player.
Izzy, the daughter of Bill and India Dickinson, found golf by chance.  In 2011, her family was chosen to be a part of ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover television series.  In addition to a new home, the family was gifted golf clubs and one free golf lesson.  These went in a closet only to be pulled out days before the lesson expired. It turned out to be quite the fortuitous find because Izzy was a natural.  Shane Lebron, the golf pro that taught the lesson, was blown away by her natural talent and encouraged her parents to have her continue to be trained, even offering to do it for free.  Those free golf clubs and free lesson turned into a lifestyle and in just five years of playing, Izzy has turned into one of South Carolina’s best female junior golfers.
Initially Izzy’s only goal was to get her scores low enough to play in college, but that all changed on March 15, 2017 when a friend mentioned the Olympics.  After this conversation, the idea took root and Izzy began researching what she had to do. This has become her driving goal.  Izzy’s life revolves around golf.  She has sacrificed many of the luxuries of an average teenage life because she is determined to prove her doubters wrong and achieve her goals.  There are no late nights out. She missed Beaufort High season opening football victory over A.C. Flora because she had a tournament the next day.  When asked what she does outside of golf, she hesitated before talking about going to her friends, sporting events or to the movies.
Izzy wasn’t just blessed with a natural swing.  She clearly has an undeniable work ethic and incredible determination to improve, to succeed and to reach her goals.  She said she loves the honesty and integrity of the game, the way the scorecard tells the truth.  “It’s hard and it’s mentally draining.  Sometimes you get better and sometimes you get worse, but when you see your score go down there is no better feeling,” she said.
Izzy and her family made the decision to homeschool to allow her to focus more time and effort on improving her game.
A typical day will have her on the range at Legends Golf Course on Parris Island around 8 a.m. working on a variety of shots for several hours.  After a break for lunch and studies, she heads back out to the course to play 9 holes before heading to the Sanctuary on Cat Island for her Beaufort High School team practice.  After practice, she does more school work and then prepares to repeat the routine again the next day.  Right now, she has high school team matches on Tuesday and Thursday before heading off to play an individual event on the Peggy Kirk Bell Tour on weekends.  Proving again that she is driven to be her best, she has been known to head out to the lighted Marine Corps Air Station range after a tournament to work on shots she struggled with that weekend.
When asked what helps her continue to improve, she mentioned her goal of playing in the Olympics, her work with coach Cody Carter and her sessions with Sea Pines Director of Performance, Matt Cuccaro, for helping her put all the pieces of her game together at the same time. According to Izzy, her biggest challenge is the mentally draining nature of golf and improving her ability to battle self-doubt and stay confident day to day and shot to shot while learning how to let go of a hole that didn’t go the way she wanted it to.
Carter, the 2017 Hilton Head PGA teacher of the year and current head pro at Savannah Quarters Golf Club, was glowing when he talked about his pupil.  He described Izzy as a hard worker, maybe the hardest working player he’s ever coached.  He went on to say that “her drive and motivation is phenomenal and her discipline to say hey my friends are going to a party but I’ve got to work on my game is unbelievable for a player her age.”  He added that she is extremely coachable and does exactly what she is asked to do all the time.  Like others, when asked what the best part of her game is, he quickly responded by talking about her swing, her ability to drive it off the tee. Carter was bullish on her future, saying that if she continues to work as hard as she is now, continues to progress the way that she has and continues to focus on the present and what is right in front of her, all her future goals are in reach.
Izzy has been a member of the Beaufort High School golf team since 7th grade and has been named to the all-region team each of the last three seasons. She says the pieces of her game have been falling into place more consistently and she has been shaving strokes off her scores consistently. Last fall she won the Parris Island Ladies Golf championship (the championship came with a reserved parking place with her name on it, but unfortunately since she was only 15 she couldn’t drive a car to park in it).  Also, last fall, she narrowly missed the all-state team but finished 16th in the 2017 South Carolina High School League Class 4A State Golf Tournament shooting an 82-80, an impressive pair of rounds for a 15 year old high school sophomore. This summer, she won the Hilton Head Island Junior Golf Association Summer League which earned her a spot in the South Carolina Junior Golf Association Tommy Cuthbert All Star tournament where she finished in 3rd place.  In that tournament, she broke 80 for the first time shooting a 79 on her way to that 3rd place finish.  Her success has continued this fall as she has been the low medalist in all three of her high school matches with Beaufort High School.  She continued to shave strokes with a career low 77 and come away with a 2nd place finish in the Peggy Kirk Golf Southeast Series finale at the Wescott Plantation in North Charleston.
You can follow Izzy with the Beaufort High girls golf team.  Find their schedule at bhs.beaufortschools.net/athletics
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