Taylor Mularski played a couple of rounds per year, usually with her dad and older brother, Zane, prior to joining Mead High’s golf team as a freshman in 2019.
“I thought I was a golfer,” she said, “but I definitely was not.”
Mularski most certainly is now, to the point her senior season has included a course-record 6-under-par 66 at Horn Rapids in Richland, a 67 at Wandermere and scores ranging from 71 to 73 in four Greater Spokane League events.
On Thursday, she fired a dazzling 9-under 63 at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club in the Palouse Ridge Invitational hosted by Pullman High.
Her effort in the classroom is impressive, too. She’s one of Mead’s valedictorians.
“I’ve had B’s on assignments,” Mularski said, “but never in a class.”
She’s taken a crash course of sorts in golf the past three years to develop her A game through countless hours of dedication – and not just smacking range balls or staying on the putting green for an extra 15 minutes here or there.
As for why Mularski wanted to excel on the course, she points to being part of a close-knit Mead team that placed second at state her freshman year and the influence of Zane’s standout career .
“Golf wasn’t my thing until I was part of the team and just being part of a team that was really close and wanted to win,” Mularski said. “And (Mead coach Keith) Ross is really good at motivating the team to get better and making it fun. From that point on, I wanted to get better and better, and I fell in love with the game through that.
“Zane gave me rides to practice a ton my freshman year and he practiced a lot. He’d hit the same putt on the putting green for hours. I was like, ‘Whoa, this is how I have to get better.’
“So I’d stay later and practice with him.”
Mularski has been practicing or playing almost nonstop the past few years, often in the summer with Zane, who plays for University of La Verne in California.
She posted 163 scores in 2020, according to Washington Golf, the most by a junior player in the state. Zane was next with 155. She followed that up with a state-leading 135 posted scores last summer. Keep in mind, that total doesn’t include practice rounds.
Nor does it touch on the fact that she rarely goes more than a day or two without at least hitting balls, whether it’s on the range, on a simulator at her home course Kalispel or into a net in the garage at the family home. Or practicing on an artificial putting green in the family basement.
“She went to California for a Yearbook conference over spring break,” Ross said. “She went early with family and played a couple rounds. The conference was three days and she couldn’t play golf and by far that was the longest stretch she hadn’t played since 2019.”
That is one of several examples Ross cited as examples of Mularski’s commitment to improve. She recently played in a Monday GSL match, drove to Seattle for a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Tuesday, played a prep tournament Friday at Wandermere and drove back to the Seattle area for a Washington Junior Golf Association tournament Saturday and Sunday.
Mularski practices or plays until 7 p.m., even though team practice typically ends at 5 or 5:30, “because I have the time and want to put in the work.”
“She will go out and play an extra nine holes, and the cool thing now is four or five girls play with her almost every single time,” Ross said. “She’s so driven.”
Mularski adheres to the 7 p.m. rule in part because of a putting drill assigned by Ross during her freshman season.
“He doesn’t know this, but he gave me a putting drill. He knows the drill, obviously, but I started it at 3 and didn’t complete it until 7,” Mularski said. “It was, ‘Oh my gosh, my back hurts I spent so much time on this.’ When I do putting drills over the summer, I’ve learned that it takes a long time to finish because it’s mentally straining and you’re dialing in your stroke.”
On days when Mead’s practice is a range session, she’ll follow by driving to Kalispel for additional practice.
Mularski credits instructor Steve Prugh for swing refinements and improving her course management.
The rewards for her unwavering dedication: lower scores, GSL Player of the Year honors last season and she’s on track to repeat this spring. Mularski and Mead figure to be contenders for individual and team hardware at the State 3A tournament at MeadowWood later this month.
She’s also earned a scholarship to play at Gonzaga next season. She started emailing colleges across the country last year before finding a perfect fit in town.
“At the beginning of the process, I was determined to get out of Spokane,” she said. “Gonzaga ended up being the place I felt was going to be best for me.”
Mularski has little spare time, but she usually spends it hanging out with friends or on the golf course.
“A lot of it is golf,” she said. “It might sound like it’s overkill, but it’s what I love to do. There’s not a lot of times I’m on the course that I don’t want to be out there.”
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