Every summer, St. Bede senior Gianna Grivetti played in the Illinois Valley High School Summer Golf League.
This summer was a bit different though as Grivetti was the girl in the league.
It turned out to be a blessing as Grivetti spent the summer playing from the men’s tees, which helped her develop her game even more.
“I practiced from the men’s tees during the summer, so I think that really helped me,” Grivetti said. “It helped me with my farther away shots. It was easier for me to figure out what clubs I needed. It gave me more confidence in my longer clubs.”
Grivetti, who practiced multiple days per week outside of league play, became more consistent with her drives and improved her approach shots and putting.
“Her putting was much improved. I think a lot of that had to do with confidence,” St. Bede coach Rich Cummings said. “Her approach shots got a lot longer. She was able to come onto the green from a lot further away. She wasn’t playing her second shot short of the green. She was going after the green on her second shot. She played the white tees in the summer league and played with the boys all summer. I think that really helped her out.”
With her improved game and coming off a third-place finish in the Illinois Valley Women’s Golf Invitational, Grivetti started the high school season strong and played well throughout.
Grivetti averaged 44.9 for nine holes and 89.8 for 18 holes, was a three-time medalist, was First-Team All-Three Rivers Conference, placed fourth in the TRC Meet and finished top 10 at the Ottawa Invitational and the Class 1A Rock Falls Regional.
For all her accomplishments, Grivetti is the 2022 NewsTribune Girls Golfer of the Year.
“It was kind of a roller coaster,” Grivetti said. “But I had more good rounds than bad ones and I’m really happy with how my season turned out.”
Grivetti emerged from the shadow of two-time NT Girls Golfer of the Year Aleanna Mendoza to lead the Bruins, taking over the No. 1 spot in the lineup and helping a young and inexperienced roster.
“It was really exciting,” Grivetti said. “The group of girls on the team were really sweet. I loved every minute of it. Being more of a leader on a team isn’t something I would usually do, but it was a really good experience.”
Grivetti said she tried to keep her teammates’ spirits up during tough times because “golf is very much a mental game.”
“She really grew into a leadership role and really blossomed this year,” Cummings said. “She was the first one at practice and the last one to leave. She showed the other girls the way we do it. The kids who were beginners or who were struggling, she kept their heads up. She had a ‘don’t be discouraged in how you played today’ attitude for the younger kids. She taught them you’re going to have bad days and bad shots, but you have to come back tomorrow and try harder.”
Grivetti left her mark on the course as well, making the first-ever eagle in the history of the St. Bede girls golf program.
“One of the biggest highlights for me was getting an eagle for the first tie in a match,” Grivetti said. “I was so speechless when that happened.
“When I hit my shot, I was about 150 (yards) out and I was just hoping to get close to the green. Someone signaled to me that it went in the hole and I didn’t really believe them at first. I was looking back at everyone like, ‘Is it actually in?’ When they said, ‘Yes, it is,’ I almost started crying because I was so surprised and really happy.”
Grivetti, who won’t golf in college and will instead focus on her academics as a civil engineering major, finished her career with a strong postseason, shooting a 94 in the regional and carding a 96 at the Kewanee Sectional.
“I thought I did OK (in the postseason), not my best if I’m being honest, but the courses were not easy and the matches were really long,” Grivetti said. “I was proud of myself that I hung in there the entire time. My hard work definitely paid off.
“I’m just really thankful for the entire (golf experience). It’s been a really great four years.”
The Gianna Grivetti File:
• 2022 BCR Female Golfer of the Year
• First Team Three Rivers All-Conference
• Sectional qualifier
• Area-best 44.9 average