Rifle’s Taylor Walters signs to play golf at Mesa

If ever there was a kid born to be a golfer, it’s Taylor Mae Walters.

“They named me after TaylorMade (golf clubs),” the Rifle High School senior said with a laugh Wednesday evening after signing a national letter of intent to play — what else? — golf at Colorado Mesa University.

“It’s kind of fitting. My birth announcement said a tee time (for her time of birth) and ‘Our twosome has become a threesome.’ They played it all out.”

She does not, however, play TaylorMade clubs; she prefers Titleist, and recently switched from her TaylorMade driver to a Cobra.

“I don’t have anything against them, I played the TaylorMade driver a long time,” she said. “You need a different look sometimes.”

Her dad, Rifle boys basketball coach Roger Walters, said he wavered buying her Rifle blue or a more CMU-friendly red driver.

He settled on blue. There’s always next season to color-coordinate with her CMU golf bag.

“I’m really excited to be on a more competitive level with everyone and see how I handle myself in situations like that,” Taylor said of college golf.

“I know I said I don’t like change, but I think it’s time for something new and to try something of a different level.”

Walters, who placed seventh in the Class 4A state tournament last spring, saw plenty of CMU women’s basketball games while her dad was coaching the Mavericks, and that helped her feel comfortable in Grand Junction.

“I didn’t want to get too far away from home,” she said. “My family is super-close and I started thinking about being too far away. I kind of started freaking out. I’m not a huge change person, I get unsettled when I think about change.

“When I visited Mesa and went on campus I thought it was probably a good place for me to be. When I was there I didn’t freak out, I didn’t have any bad feelings. I really enjoyed it and thought, ‘Well, I think that’s a good sign.’ “

She’s preparing for the regional tournament next month at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, and as for state, she’s set a lofty goal.

“My goal this year is top five for sure,” she said. “Last year when I set to be top 10 and I was seventh I was kind of tearing up at the end. My mom said, ‘Taylor, you met your goal, be happy.’

“I said, ‘I know, Mom, but when I say top 10 and get seventh, you want top five.’ This year I want it to happen.”

Walters has been playing tournament golf since she was 8 years old and was quickly hooked.

“If you have a bad round, you want to go back out and let the course know you’re better than that,” she said. “When a good round happens it’s so rewarding, you just want to keep playing and playing and playing.”

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