High school golf: Prairie’s Patterson preaches positive philosophy

Lessons learned in her sport help in everyday life

BRUSH PRAIRIE — She has been known to stand on a table, to shout, to point in the direction of someone she believes could use a helping hand in life.

Once she gets that person’s attention, then it is time to really put on the sales pitch.

“I’m a loud person in general. I’m not afraid to embarrass myself or make a fool of myself. I’m happy with who I am,” Prairie senior Delainey Patterson said. “I want everyone to have a good time.”

Prairie senior Delainey Patterson is loud and proud of her association with golf, a sport she says teaches valuable life lessons. Photo by Paul Valencia
Prairie senior Delainey Patterson is loud and proud of her association with golf, a sport she says teaches valuable life lessons. Photo by Paul Valencia

Which is why she stood above a crowd during a future student orientation at Prairie High School one evening, imploring eighth graders to lend her an ear. She had something to say.

“I’m OK standing on a table, looking like a fool, to try to get people to understand how great of a game this is,” she said.

Golf has been good for Delainey Patterson, and she wanted to share the wisdom, in hopes of introducing more people to the game.

“So many people, when they think of golf, think it’s an old man’s sport. ‘Why you playing an old man’s sport?’ I believe it’s the best sport out there,” Patterson said.

Delainey Patterson of Prairie learned from mistakes on the course her sophomore year, then bounced back to win the district title as a junior. Photo by Paul Valencia
Delainey Patterson of Prairie learned from mistakes on the course her sophomore year, then bounced back to win the district title as a junior. Photo by Paul Valencia

It is not just because she excels at the game. A talented player for sure — Patterson is the defending Class 3A district champion and she finished in top 15 at state last spring — but the benefits from the game, she said, are so much more than just the results on a scorecard.

Ladies and gentleman, here now, the philosophy of Patterson:

“Golf has made me into the best version of myself,’’ Patterson said. “It has taught me you can’t hold on to the past. You have to let go and only look to the future. That goes right along with life.”

And more:

“I always tell my friends, ‘Positive thoughts make positive shots.’ You can’t play positive while thinking negative. It’s impossible.”

Delainey Patterson of Prairie, shown here at practice earlier this week, is one of the best ambassadors for the game that her coach has had in 29 years. Photo by Paul Valencia
Delainey Patterson of Prairie, shown here at practice earlier this week, is one of the best ambassadors for the game that her coach has had in 29 years. Photo by Paul Valencia

Sports. School. Work. All things, she said.

“If you choose to dwell on negatives in life, you’re going to have more negative experiences in life. But if you focus on the little accomplishments, you’ll be so much happier in life.”

As an example, Patterson used the simple task of going out for a drink at a local coffee shop.

“That can make your day if you choose it, or it can just be another thing,” she said.

Another day on the putting green, at the driving range, or a practice round in the rain. Those can be just things a golfer does, or it can be something a golfer celebrates.

Take a guess how Patterson feels about those activities.

Prairie golfer Delainey Patterson always tries to keep an eye on the positives … in the game and in life. Photo by Paul Valencia
Prairie golfer Delainey Patterson always tries to keep an eye on the positives … in the game and in life. Photo by Paul Valencia

“She is one of the best ambassadors for Prairie golf I’ve ever had in 29 years,” Prairie coach Paul Shapard said. “What I really like about her, other than her personality and fun attitude, is the way she rebounds from bad situations. That is exactly what you want from an athlete.”

That skill comes from the mental approach. Bad shots will happen, positive attitude or not. It is how the athlete responds to that bad shot that can dictate the rest of a round.

As with life, golf is a work in progress. Patterson had a strong sophomore regular season for the Falcons but struggled at the district tournament. Looking back, she said she did focus too much on the bad shots.

“I had to really learn that lesson that year,” she said.

A year later, she was in a similar position at district. She had a rough first round, then returned to the course and opened the final round with a double-bogey.

“I kept a positive mindset. I played solid,” Patterson said, referring to her reaction after that first hole. “I was really proud of how I came out of it. I really proved that when something negative happens, I can turn it into a positive and not let it overtake my life.”

Patterson, who started the final round tied for first place, won the tournament by nine strokes.

Delainey Patterson of Prairie is always looking ahead, at the next shot on the golf course, the next adventure in life. Her positive attitude is not only contagious, but she says it is the key to her success on the course. Photo by Paul Valencia
Delainey Patterson of Prairie is always looking ahead, at the next shot on the golf course, the next adventure in life. Her positive attitude is not only contagious, but she says it is the key to her success on the course. Photo by Paul Valencia

At state, she accomplished her goal of making the top 15 when she finished 14th. She did not have her best those two days, describing her second round as “three-putt Patterson.” But she also did not let it get her down.

“It was still enough to get 14th, and I was still a junior who had another year,” she said.

This spring, she does not want to put too much pressure on herself with a specific goal. But, yeah, she wants to win, or at least get a top-five finish at state before heading off to college.

In the fall, she plans on attending at Corban University in Salem to play golf. Her two older brothers, David and Daniel, played there. In fact, David is a coach at Corban now.

It should be no surprise to anyone that Patterson wants to study psychology and pre-counseling. She wants to be a therapist.

“I just like seeing people happy,” Patterson said.

That starts with a positive attitude and a take-charge philosophy.

Patterson is loud and proud about where she learned those traits. She was on a golf course.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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