A snow-filled winter in Durango might have slowed down a less dedicated golfer. It didn’t keep Durango’s Madalen Meier from working on her game.
Meier, a senior on the Durango High School girls golf team, continued to hit balls all winter at Elevated Golf Academy based out of Dalton Ranch Golf Club. The result has been evident on her scorecards, as she has finished in the top 10 of every tournament this season with three top-five finishes.
During the winter, Meier spent 12 to 15 hours per week hitting balls in the simulator and would work out for two hours every day at Dalton’s gym. It was all done in preparation for the final two tournaments of her senior season. The 4A Region 4 tournament is Monday at Adobe Creek National Golf Course in Fruita. Last year, Meier placed seventh at regionals to qualify for the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A State Championship tournament for the first time. She finished 39th at state out of 84 players.
“The ultimate goal is to get top five at state this year,” Meier said. “After going for the first time last year and seeing those girls, I really want to be able to go play with those girls and show them what I’m made of.”
Meier’s work ethic has shaped her game. She only started playing less than three years ago and has made major strides. Formerly a dancer, the daughter of K’lyn and Ron Meier first had to learn to quiet her foot movement that earned her the nickname “Happy Feet” on the golf course.
“When I first started golfing, I’d move around a lot,” she said. “I was a dancer before all of this and did a lot of tap dance. I was like the little penguin in the movie ‘Happy Feet’ just moving my feet around too much.”
When Meier joined the DHS team as a sophomore, head coach Kirk Rawles said she would shoot rounds of 115 and 120.
“She’s kind of taken ownership of her game,” Rawles said. “She’s taken a lot of time with Elevated Golf in the offseason, working with Shea Sena, and now she’s shooting in the mid-80s.”
Last summer, Meier won the Hillcrest Golf Club Junior Championship a year after placing second.
This year, Meier had a round of 10-over-par 81 at Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction. During that round, she opened with an eagle on the 487-yard par-5. Her round helped send Durango to its second team win in as many tournaments to open the season, fueling hope for a strong team finish at regionals and state this year.
“Those tournaments were my first time winning at Durango High, and it’s so cool to have that feeling that we’re doing something good and to be acknowledged at school,” Meier said. “I’ve had the questions in the past of, ‘We have a golf team?’ It’s been cool to go back and have people talking about us winning two tournaments in a row. It’s cool to have that and be proud of it.”
Beyond this season, Meier will continue to play golf for Fort Lewis College. She was signed by new head coach Jim Foltz during the winter along with Durango teammate Faith Mewmaw, a three-time state qualifier who will join Meier, Quinn Griswold and Lilly Tichi at regionals this year.
“It’s been really cool and very fast paced, too,” Meier said. “I just started playing golf competitively less than three years ago. I’m really excited but surprised. It’s surreal to have actually been signed.
“I’m excited to go find another golf family, stay in town and work at Elevated Golf Academy and continue working on my home course and really bond with people there. I’m excited to make new friends who are as passionate about the sport as I am.”
Do you have a nickname?:
On the golf team, a lot of people call me “Happy Feet,” and then a lot of people call me Mads.
What is your favorite sports movie?:
“The Greatest Game Ever Played” or “The Legend of Bagger Vance”
Do you listen to music on the driving range?:
When I’m at practice, I don’t listen to anything so I can really focus. But, when I’m warming up to play, I have a very specific playlist I listen to to get my mindset right. Depending on the day, my go-to songs are “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons or “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.
Who is your favorite athlete?:
Currently, my favorite male athlete is Jordan Spieth and female is Lexi Thompson. My all-time favorite is Patty Berg, one of the original ladies who created the LPGA.
If you could take a vacation after this season, where would you go?:
Either upstate New York or Boston
What is your favorite thing to eat after a round of golf?:
Margherita pizza from Fired Up
Who is your favorite superhero?:
Captain Marvel. I’m really about women empowerment.
What is your favorite children’s Book?:
“All are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold or “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss
What is your favorite outdoor activity besides golf?:
In the wineter, snowboarding with Adaptive Sports. In the summer, I just like hanging outside with my dogs and playing around with them.
What teacher has had a big impact on your life?:
Sherra Bornheim at Park Elementary. She taught me to read because I didn’t know how. It was really hard for me. Also, Jessica Bright at Durango High has influenced me a lot and got me more involved in a program that got me where I want to be academically.