Student Commits to Notre Dame Golf


Mimi Burton

Mimi Burton will be playing D1 golf at Notre Dame, Class of 27′

Yness Martinez, Editor

It was hot, and she was tired. One more hole and it was over. It had been a stressful few days, and every day required immense concentration and physical exertion. But it had all come down to this hole. Her opponent had already missed it; she could end it all here. She took a deep breath and took a few practice strokes. Breathe, swing. Breathe, swing. The onlookers were silent. All eyes were on her. She hit her putt. It went in. She sank to her knees, tears in her eyes; her dad rushed to embrace her. It was over, she was the AJGA champion. 

Junior Mimi Burton has been playing golf for over a decade, from waddling after her dad on the driving range, to surpassing him over the course of her golf career. Though most of her life has been dedicated to the sport, her drive to make every single hole hasn’t diminished in the slightest, and to top it off: she’s now committed to play D1 golf at the University of Notre Dame. 

“For as long as I can remember, my dad’s been taking me to the golf course,” Burton said. “You know, like a built-in best friend, but I’m a two-year-old.

Much of Burton’s inspiration comes from her dad, who has been her mentor and her best friend on and off the golf course. 

“I started actually playing when I was about five,” Burton said. “Then around eight I started taking it more seriously.”

Golf is a pretty social sport according to Burton, and it doesn’t just require skill to play. She played with seniors in middle school, which really pushed her out of her comfort zone socially and skills wise.

“It grows really fast because you start to meet new people, ” Burton said. “And all of a sudden you’re playing bigger tournaments with people from all over the country and even internationally.”

Golf also managed to bring a younger, shyer Burton out of her shell. It forced her into long tournaments with strangers for hours at a time.

“I was so shy, [and] I didn’t really talk to people,” Burton said. “Through golf you have to get to know people. It’s crucial to try a little bit.”

Burton has now been invited to multiple American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments. Those typically last many days, and are sometimes in bizarre places.

“I did play a tournament in Robinson, Illinois,” Burton said. “Nobody’s heard of it; we’ve talked to people from Illinois that have no idea where that is.”

No season is the same for Burton, and because it’s a year round sport, practice doesn’t have a break. Instead she is always training and takes tournaments as they come. However, interruptions can cause problems for the players.

“During the snowstorm this year, it was two weeks of just nothing,” Burton said. “And you’re just sitting there itching like, ‘I need to go practice,’ and you can’t always get out there.”

 Burton stays true to the motto “practice makes perfect.” She said that missing practice opportunities for any extended amount of time can affect her consistency, and it hinders her tech.

“I’ll focus really hard on one part of my swing, and then overcompensate on something else,” Burton said. “I’m constantly chasing that perfect combination.”

Most people think golf is a calm, and relaxing sport, but Burton said it’s not for the actual players. 

“A lot of people don’t understand why you have to be so quiet,” Burton said. “Your brain is on all day, and you’re constantly thinking about the factors that will get you the best opportunity; you are always planning.”

When it came time for Mimi to look at collegiate golf, she said it was a little overwhelming at first. She’d been talking to coaches for just a little while when she already knew her first choice was obvious.

“I want to go to the best school I can, and I also want to be in a good golf program.” Burton said. “So I knew Notre Dame would be an excellent choice.”

On June 15th the NCAA rules allowed for potential golf recruits to be contacted by college coaches. The floodgates were released on Burton as many college coaches started emailing and calling her about their program.

“Thanks to my dad playing golf there I had met the coaches when I was younger,” Burton said. “There was a little bit of an existing relationship with them.”

While committing to college for a sport is a big deal, sometimes it’s not as complex a process as one might think.

“It was a pretty easy decision for me,” Burton said. “I knew what an amazing program it was, and playing there will allow me to play to the best of my abilities.”

Although she’s now on the track of a D1 athlete, she’ll never stop playing with her first partner, her dad.

“My dad is my best friend; he taught me,” Burton said. “Even though I’m way better than him now.”