FORT WAYNE – She picked golf, she says now, because there was so little stress. And isn’t there a punch line in that somewhere.
Isn’t there a snicker or two, a nudge in the ribs, as Karley Dobis trudges to the 13th tee at her home course, Coyote Creek, with the squirrels playing tag in her stomach. It’s the final day of the Women’s City Tournament last summer, and Dobis has just made double bogey. Her lead over IPFW golfer Allison Curtis is gone.
No stress. Hyuck, hyuck.
Sounds hilarious now when she says that a year later, having righted the ship to beat Curtis by three strokes for the city title. The tournament’s coming up again, this time at Chestnut Hills, and Dobis knows a lot of people will be watching her as the defending champion.
But if there’s again a certain pressure in that, it wasn’t always thus.
My dad (Tim) just kind of let us go out and play, my brothers and I, recalls Dobis, 20, who plays for Ball State these days. We’d just kind of go out every week when we used to live in Alabama, and we just kind of played it as a leisure sport.
I played a lot of other sports more seriously, so when the time came where I had to decide what I wanted to do; this one had always been the fun choice, the one where there wasn’t all the pressure and expectations. I honestly don’t know how I picked it, but it was just kind of the one that had always been there for me, without a lot of stress.
Not like soccer, one of her other sports. And certainly not like high school basketball in Indiana, which Dobis played at Homestead after her family moved to Fort Wayne when she was in seventh grade.
Those sports were her caffeinated options. Golf was decaf.
Even if it’s less so now.
The women’s city tournament, for instance, she regards as being on somewhat more level ground this year, since it’s not at her home course. That’s not necessarily a disadvantage – Dobis played Chestnut Hills a lot in high school – but it’s no advantage, either.
So many people know Chestnut Hills a lot better, Dobis says.
I think I had an advantage last year because I knew Coyote in a way that not many people did, she goes on. This year, I know Chestnut pretty well, but so many other people have that same kind of knowledge or a lot more. So I think there’s definitely not that same kind of advantage this year.
On the plus side, she thinks it suits her game, which is long off the tee and efficient around the greens.
I would say I drive the ball pretty consistent, says Dobis, who averaged 81.6 per round in 10 events for Ball State last season. I can put it out there about 240 (yards) on average. And also around the greens, I think I can get the ball up and down pretty well.
She’ll have to do plenty of both to retain the title.
Yeah, I think I do have a target on my back, she says. Not necessarily that the players on the course are going to want to beat me, but there’s people out there who are watching me kind of expecting me to win.
But I just kind of have to not really let that get to me out there. Last year there was a lot of expectation from myself, and most of the time I was able to block it out and just play golf. So that’s going to be kind of the same thing I’m going to be doing at this tournament.