Freeland’s freshman Avery Pumford adds to family golfing legacy


FREELAND, MI – Avery Pumford is, well, a Pumford.

This means that her baby booties had soft tips, her beanie was a visor, and her stroller was equipped with cup holders and t-shirts. His ABC book stated with Aces, Birdies and Clubs.

“As far back as I can remember I have played golf,” Pumford said. “I can’t remember when I first started playing golf because I never played golf.”

So even though Pumford is just a freshman at Freeland High School, there’s plenty of experience in her golf bag, enough to shoot an 81 and earn medal honors on Tuesday in a regional Division 3. at the Pine River Golf Course in Alma.

Pumford’s father, Matt Pumford, is a former Michigan State University golfer and six-time Saginaw District Champion. He is the former Freeland High School Girls’ Golf Coach and the current Assistant Golf Coach at Saginaw Valley State University.

Avery Pumford has two older sisters. SVSU sophomore Olivia Pumford was a member of Division 3 after finishing 10th in the state as a junior and seventh as a senior, leading the Falcons to a third place in the state. Grace Pumford graduated in 2021 after helping Freeland land an eighth place finish in the 2020 Women’s Golf State Final, shooting an 85 to finish 27th.

“We’re all very competitive,” said Avery Pumford. “The sisters always want to beat each other. We want to win. It is a competitive sport, a competitive family.

But until this year, Avery Pumford’s level of intensity was not as high as that of his sisters or father, but that changed over the summer.

“My dad always challenges me,” said Avery Pumford. “He’s going to challenge me on nine holes and give me four strokes. I want to beat him. That’s my goal. I tied him up, but I never beat him. I got closer, but he always seems to pull a good shot or do something in the end to win.

“It was he who asked me to go play golf. Now I ask him to go play golf because I want to beat him.

Freeland Girls coach Ciaran Byrne noticed the difference.

“I knew Avery… I’m a teacher in the district and had her in class and coached her sisters,” Byrne said. “So I knew who she was and that she was a golfer. But I think she didn’t really start taking golf seriously until last summer.

“The Pumfords still play golf, but this summer she asked them to take her out on the course rather than the other way around. Avery even looks like she started listening to her father… maybe he knew what he was talking about.

This is something Avery Pumford doesn’t take for granted. The Pumfords golfed at Maple Hill Golf Club until it closed. Now they are members of the Sawmill Golf Course.

“He always trains me, helps me,” said Avery Pumford. “Now, since I’ve had my downswing, most of his training is on the mental part of golf.

“I have watched and followed him all my life. I caddy for him in the (Saginaw) district every year, so I can see him competing at a very high level. I learned a lot by watching.

The Avery Pumford pilot can reach 240 meters which gives him an advantage. But she also developed a short game to complement her pilot.

“She has an amazing skill set,” Byrne said. “She hits the ball long, with a great short game. She is very confident in her game. She does not hold back. She is aggressive when she plays. She knows what she is capable of.

“She played very well in regional. The course was already long, but with the wet conditions and the wind he played much longer. But that didn’t bother her.

The Falcons, who finished second in the regional at Flint Powers, hope to improve on their eighth place in 2020. Avery Pumford is joined by teammates Sophie Argyle, Kendal Ferchau, Zoey Markey, Ava Mata and Sophie Maxwell.

They will play Friday and Saturday October 15 and 16 at Forest Akers West in Michigan State. Pumford played the course in a summer tournament.

“It didn’t go well, but it should help this time around,” Pumford said. “There are a lot of problems on the course, and I found a lot of them. It is important to stay calm, to think about your move and your next move. We must reflect on this course. “

Which, for a Pumford, might be as simple as ABC.

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