Teddy Roosevelt once coined a famous expression when he said “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you’ll go far.” But if the former president were to wander onto Wayne Golf Course this spring, he might blink in disbelief if he saw the petite Yuri Machida smash a golf ball. Machida, a soft-spoken junior for the Woodinville Falcons, is a rising star in the world of KingCo golf. At 105 pounds, she can drive a ball 220 yards off the tee, splitting the fairway with routine precision.
Last season as a sophomore, Machida finished 4th in KingCo and traveled to Vancouver to compete in the State tourney. She spent this past off season practicing virtually every day at Bear Creek Country Club and hitting the gym to strengthen her back and legs for more durability and power. She whittled her handicap down to an outstanding 3.6.
“Since I’ve been going to the gym more I’ve definitely been able to hit it further,” Machida said. “I struggled with putting a lot last season. I’ve been trying to focus on that a lot more. And maybe chipping, I’ve been working on that too.”
With the new season starting on March 25th in a match against Redmond, it’s the best of times and the worst of times for Machida, in regards to golf. Individually, the sky’s the limit for her. But of the eight teammates from last year’s squad, only one has remained, junior Bailey Longoni.
“Only one girl came back from last year,” Machida said. “Two new girls joined, but we only have four people right now. I was disappointed because I thought everyone was going to come back. It was kind of sad to see that not everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.”
With only four girls on the roster, Woodinville enters each match at a big disadvantage. When they play other teams with 10 players, both schools compete by taking their top 5 scores. With Woodinville not able to fill the fifth spot, that phantom participant is given a double bogie at each hole by default. A painful penalty for not having enough bodies.
However, with two weeks remaining until the season starts, there’s still time for WHS girls to join. In fact, Machida’s actively recruiting.
“Everyone is free to join, and we definitely need more people,” she said. “I’m talking to someone right now and she’s interested, so hopefully we can get her out there.”
But even if the team remains small in number, Machida will be bolstered by a big support system — her parents. Tadao and Junko Machida constantly lend their quiet presence as their daughter strives for big dreams on the links.
“My parents are definitely my biggest support system,” she said. “They’re not verbally telling me to do this and do that, but they come to watch all the matches I play in and all the tournaments. No matter what they’re always there for me, so I’m so thankful for them. For the opportunities they’ve given me to be able to compete, I’m very grateful.”
Despite the small squad, Machida is excited for the season to begin.
“My teammates have really been working hard and are so positive,” she said. “We’ve all been supporting each other.”
As Teddy Roosevelt once said: “With self-discipline most anything is possible.”