For the past three years, one name has taken complete precedence in any conversation involving the elite amateur game. First, she broke through with the U.S. Women’s Amateur title. Then the U.S. Girls Junior just before college. Ten appearances in majors as an amateur. A National Championship, backed by a 4-win freshman year at Stanford as the reigning top player in college golf. Her college win total has since clocked in at nine, and shows zero signs of stopping there.
All of these achievements belong to one Rose Zhang, whose remarkable play and steadfast consistency have safely kept her name atop the amateur golf world.
Often missing from that association is Rose’s laid back demeanor, perhaps a product of her geographical location. Most days are spent with what seems like steadfast, focused training at Siebel Golf Complex – most notably, her 100 consecutive four-foot putt drill.
But her time is plenty filled with team bonding, church, studying, or curled up on the couch with a good YouTube video or TV show. If Zhang doesn’t seem like your stereotypical college student, well, that’s because she isn’t.
“(Even) my slower pace of life is still very busy,” Rose says. “But I like to have a chill mindset when it comes to things.”
That California chill originates in Irvine. An energetic young child, Rose spent her childhood playing tennis, soccer and swimming. Around nine, Rose noticed her dad, Henry, took up a new sport. She followed along and discovered a true passion. Within a year her natural talent was quickly revealed as she took to the local scene, collecting five wins in her first competitive year.
11-year-old Rose and Henry embarked on a coaching search to help polish her game. A family friend of the Zhangs’ encouraged Rose to visit the GOLFTEC in her hometown. Sheepishly, she admits the idea of a new swing coach left her terrified. “I was lowkey shaking,” she recalls.
Her fears quickly vanished once the Zhangs began a routine of visits with Michael Finney, a Certified Personal GOLFTEC Coach with over seven years of experience. “He broke down a lot of things for me,” she says. Heralded for her incredibly high golf IQ, Zhang credits Finney for laying down a rich foundation: “A lot of my knowledge came from his expertise.”
That set Zhang up for years of success, as she quickly captured the top of the junior golf world by winning the first AJGA event she played in. Totaling ten wins, she became a two-time player of the year on the top junior golf circuit, attracting many recruiting eyes – including Stanford University.
“It would just be amazing...I’m really grateful for another opportunity to try and compete for that trophy.”— Augusta National Women's Amateur (@anwagolf) March 28, 2023
Rose Zhang returns to the Augusta National Women's Amateur for a fourth edition with her eyes squarely on the top of the leaderboard.#ANWAgolf
It all sounds pretty overwhelming, but she knows the solution is simple.
New place, new technology, same incredible bond: Rose and Michael get straight to work, but not before reminiscing with a few old swing videos. No longer burdened by wires, she begins warming up with a 9-iron, immediately swinging freely into the simulator.
The state-of-the-art OptiMotion technology captures Rose’s swings with HD cameras capturing face-on and down-the-line views, collecting over 4,000 data points in each of her swings. Simultaneously, the launch monitor’s statistics record her ball flight, spin, loft and speed.
Finney fondly recalls a lesson where the two worked on mental strategies before she entered a Junior Worlds qualifier and carded a bogey-free 64. “That was at Alhambra!” she said with a nostalgic glow. “That was the first time I ever shot so low in a round.”
After Rose hits a few drives and Finney explains the latest innovations, Rose is fit for a few different shafts for her irons. Ahead of a few big months, Rose says the day spent with Finney was very productive.