Katie Hoag was conference champion at Saturday’s Northeast 8 Conference Meet in Kendallville.

COLUMBIA CITY — High school golf can be a difficult sport. Out on the links, a golfer is trying to get the best of the course. She is trying to shoot better than the opponent she is matched up against — all while trying to card the best score, not only as an individual but also as part of the team.

Columbia City’s Katie Hoag has learned that balance on the course, and as a result her scores are consistently helping the Lady Eagles in the scorebooks.

“Her demeanor on the course is exceptional,” Columbia City golf coach Andrew Thompson said. “She’s a good teammate and she demands a lot of herself.”

Last season, Hoag missed advancing to regional by one shot. That near-miss has given her some extra motivation as a individual golfer and as a team. The Columbia City sophomore is now trying to get her score below 40, which she knows later in the season will help the Lady Eagles as a team have a good chance of advancing to regional also.

“I’m trying to do my best and keep a good attitude,” Hoag said. “I think we can improve as a team and win a few more matches this year.”

Thompson said the biggest key to Hoag’s success is her ability to keep calm on the course. Even if Hoag puts a shot somewhere on the course where she doesn’t want it, she has an uncanny ability to look past it and keep playing.

“When you lose that positive attitude things go bad,” Hoag said.

Hoag grew up around the game of golf. Her mother is Meggan (Schumaker) Hoag, who played at Columbia City and Michigan State. Her grandfather is Bill Schumaker, who owned Crooked Lake Golf Course and had a storied career on the links. But Hoag said it wasn’t until she got a little bit older that she really began to realize what she could do on the course.

In sixth grade, Hoag began to get more into golf and enjoy it. From that point on, she has spent time during the summer trying to refine her game and improve on the finer points of being on the course. Now, all of that extra time on the course is paying off, as Hoag is nearing her opportunity to advance out of sectionals.

Even though the school year is only beginning, the girls golf schedule is on its descent toward postseason play. The Eagles competed in the conference match Saturday, and the sectional is set for Sept. 15 at Noble Hawk Golf Course in Kendallville.