Hayden Mammen’s pain-turned-gain journey in golf began with hardly a thought of glory, much less a college ticket to one of the nation’s elite conferences.
Her story is about a knee injury, developed as a multisport athlete in fifth grade, that would require cartilage surgery three years later.
Without it, she wouldn’t have started playing golf in eighth grade at Clark Intermediate, looking to participate in a sport with minimal knee strain.
“Definitely, I would not have played golf,” she says. “Actually, it’s one of those things that happens for a reason and, maybe, all along, spiritually, this was the plan for me – to get injured.”
Her story, fast-forwarded, is about The Bee’s Player of the Year from Clovis High as a senior, who not only has achieved an elusive goal in the game – consistency – but with considerable driving distance propelled with clubhead speed rarely seen.
On any level.
Fresno golf professional Mike Schy, her swing coach, puts it this way: “She clocks 100 mph with the driver (clubhead speed). She averages 95 to 101. The average LPGA Tour player averages 95-96. The average for a good prep player is probably 85.
“She creates an unbelievable amount of leverage and power.”
The 5-foot-7 Mammen – routinely 250 to 260 yards off the tee – will transfer that combustion on scholarship next fall to Kansas State and the Big 12 Conference with its NCAA golf giants such as Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas.
“While I hate to see her leave the area, she’ll be playing at an elite level against the best girls in the country,” Schy says. “That will afford her the better opportunity to play pro golf if that’s where she wants to go. I’m excited about her future. She has a great game and I think she’ll be in a good environment to flourish.”
Mammen, daughter of longtime Clovis Unified School District educators Bobby and Jenny Mammen, will ship to Manhattan, Kan., a résumé that reflects her consistency at Clovis:
▪ Four-time Central Section Individual Tournament qualifier, including fifth- and seventh-place finishes the past two seasons.
▪ Three-time Southern California Regional qualifier.
▪ Three-time Bee All-Star.
▪ Three-time All-Tri-River Athletic Conference selection.
▪ Two-time North Area champion.
The North Area titles as a junior and a senior after losing in a playoff to Clovis West’s Keila Takeuchi as a sophomore were Mammen’s crowning accomplishments, given the competition.
The 101-school section is split into North, Central and South Areas, and it is in the North that the region’s greatest depth of girls golf talent has been found since the section’s first championship was played in 1973, according to historian Bob Barnett.
And it’s from the North that additional Bee Player of the Year candidates were delivered this season in Clovis West sophomore Aya Enkoji, who has contributed to two section team championships; Clovis North junior Tammy Lim, the TRAC POY; and Buchanan senior Hannah Lovering, the section individual titlist. Lemoore senior Dani Kinder of the Central Area was also considered.
Mammen averaged 74.0 per 18 holes in TRAC tournaments and the section’s postseason. Enkoji and Lim each averaged 74.3.
“That’s what’s great about the TRAC,” Mammen says, “you never know who’s going to win because there’s so much talent. It was demoralizing as a freshman absolutely getting demolished by seniors, but that’s definitely how you get to be a better player.”
And, to think, she wouldn’t have played at all if there hadn’t been the pain to gain.
“Unfortunately, that’s not how everything is supposed to happen,” she says. “But, hey, if that was the plan for me, I’m extremely blessed.”
The Fresno Bee Girls Golf All-Stars Dandy Dozen
- Aya Enkoji, sophomore, Clovis West
- Dani Kinder, senior, Lemoore
- Tammy Lim, junior, Clovis North
- Hannah Lovering, senior, Buchanan
- Marissa McCardell, senior, Buchanan
- Allyson Musser, junior, Clovis West
- Madison Nii, sophomore, Clovis West
- Jayda Olaes, senior, Lemoore
- Morgan Polley, sophomore, Clovis East
- Liz Randle, senior, Edison
- Caroline Swanson, junior, Clovis North
- Misha Vega, senior, Porterville