U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Teen Author Weidenfeld Writing New Chapter in Golf Career
April 29, 2018 | Tarzana, Calif.
By Tom Mackin
How many fifth graders do you know who use the word dystopian? Or have written three dystopian fantasy books of fiction by the time they finished sixth grade, with a fourth in the works?
Meet 15-year-old Casey Weidenfeld of Pembroke Pines, Fla. She not only understands the word – an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad – and written the books, but she also is pretty good at golf, too.
Weidenfeld and partner Jillian Bourdage, of Tamarac, Fla., finished stroke play at 7-under-par 137 to easily qualify for match play in the 4th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at El Caballero Country Club
The pair will face fellow Floridians Izzy M. Pellot and Chloe Schiavone in the Round of 32 on Monday at 10:42 a.m. PDT. “I really like match play,” said Weidenfeld. “You can be more aggressive and I’m an aggressive player. Jillian is the lay-up person and I go for it. It works out.”
After failing to reach match play in last year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior, Weidenfeld has already achieved her primary goal this week.
“All I wanted to do was make it to match play and we did it,” she said after Sunday’s second round of stroke play. “I’m so excited that I conquered it this time.”
Writing provides a different thrill for the teenager. That part of her life started after she was bullied in the fifth grade.
“It was bad at the time,” she recalled. “I started reading a lot of books then. I came up with an idea and thought it might be a really cool book. Then I thought maybe I would write it. I would’ve never known I wanted to write until I got bullied and had to deal with that.”
She channeled her emotions into writing The Golden Flares, a work of fiction published in 2015. It centered on a rebellious female character named Fallon, who lives in a dystopian society. A follow-up novel released last year, The Mark of the Chosen, continues the story, as does a completed but unpublished manuscript, tentatively titled The Resistance, which rounds out the trilogy.
Weidenfeld found a publisher through one of her friend’s mothers, a fellow writer. “She recommended Page Publishing in New York. I think I was their youngest author ever.”
The books have sold well, according to the author, even if she hasn’t found much time to promote them between golf tournaments and a demanding school schedule. “Whenever I’m on the golf course I try to talk about them to my playing partners a bit,” she said. “I ask people: ‘Do you like books? I’ve written two and you should check them out.’”
Her teammate, Bourdage, has read the first one. Her review? “Really good, especially for a fifth grader. It’s pretty impressive.”
Weidenfeld, a fan of American writer Cassandra Clare, has already written 200 pages of a new dystopian fantasy novel. Neither that book, nor any of her previous efforts, reference golf.
“I’m not sure why I haven’t written a golf book yet,” she said. “Many people ask me that. Maybe because I have so much more fun playing golf than I would writing about it.”
Her introduction to the game came via a friend who invited her to a golf camp. “I was like, golf? She was kind of c’mon, just go. At first I only liked it because I could drive the golf carts. But as I started playing a bit more, I really got into it.”
She admits that her mind often drifts to story ideas, plot lines and character backgrounds while out on the course. “Especially when I write in the morning and then go play, I think about things I should add to the story.”
“I think she enjoys writing equally as much as golf,” said her mother, Tracy. “She wants to major in writing in college and continue with that passion. But she also loves the competition of golf. There’s no place she’d rather be right now than at this championship.”
But when asked if she can see herself in the future as either a professional golfer or a writer, Casey responded quickly and confidently.
“What about both?”
Arizona resident Tom Mackin is a frequent contributor to USGA websites. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.