Despite that, she still saw room for improvement.
Talbott spent the summer with the goal of becoming a smarter golfer. By doing that, she hoped she would attract the attention of college programs.
“During high school, winning the county tournament and placing fourth in the state brought the attention of some schools,” Talbott said. “That’s when it started, and schools started coming out and watching me more and more.”
The strategy paid off as Talbott committed Friday to play for Auburn beginning next fall. She will be able to officially sign with the Tigers during the early signing period, which begins Nov. 12.
“Auburn is an amazing program, and the fact that I have an opportunity to play there is unbelievable,” Talbott said. “I’m extremely excited. I wasn’t completely sure that I was going to make it to a team like Auburn, but now that I have, it’s hard to believe. I’m still kind of in shock right now.”
Talbott said she is excited to play for Auburn, not just because it’s a top-25 program, but because her two older sisters attend the university.
“I have a love and a passion for Auburn,” Talbott said. “Both of my sisters go there and, just going down for weekends watching football games, I just fell in love with Auburn. Then, I met the coaches there and thought they were phenomenal people. Once I got the offer there, it was immediate to take it. I didn’t hesitate.”
Talbott said she chose Auburn over South Carolina, East Tennessee State and South Alabama.
Talbott maintained a busy schedule this summer and planned to continue playing tournaments into the fall. In her time off from school, she won her first Hurricane Junior Golf Tournament at Jekyll Island, placed second at an event in Alabama and tied for third at an event in South Carolina. Talbott also participated in several junior tournaments that require players to either qualify or receive an invitation based on their national ranking.
“I probably played in 10 or 20 tournaments this summer,” Talbott said. “It did (get overwhelming) this summer, but it wasn’t because of the amount of golf. It was more along the lines of the recruiting process. It was just like every shot you took was under scrutiny. It was a little nerve-racking.’
Talbott’s travels kept her primarily in the Southeast. She said it never got boring.
“I’ve gotten to explore all over,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity.”
Now that Talbott has found a place to play in college, her next goal is to prepare herself for the next level. That means increasing her stamina, as college programs will play three- and four-day tournaments throughout the season.
“You have to be in excellent shape, so you can walk in those tournaments,” Talbott said, “so I will be working out a lot and getting my game to the best level that it can be at.”
Talbott would also like to see Etowah make another run for a team state title, while she is eyeing the individual championship.
Two of the three golfers that finished ahead of her in last spring’s state tournament will be back this year, likely with similar goals in mind. Talbott hopes to rely on her improved mental approach.
“When I was stressing myself out over the college coaches being there, I had to teach myself to calm down and realize that they are just people, and that I don’t need to be freaking myself out,” Talbott said. “They were there to watch me, and if they were going to take me, they were going to take me for me, and I can’t get worked up just because someone is out there watching me.”