Like most young protegees, Taylor Loeb started hitting golf balls in the back yard with her Dad at age four. But it’s what she’s done since that early beginning that makes her an up and coming female star of Arkansas’ sports world at the tender age of 15.
Jennifer Loeb said her daughter had a natural swing, even at age four but it was the opportunity to spend time at Little Rock’s First Tee golf course with a program designed for beginners just like her that captivated her and made her fall in love with the game..
By the time she was seven year’s old Taylor was playing in tournaments at First Tee.
The late Jack Stephens couldn’t have found a better example of what his dream was for the program that he brought to Arkansas — bring in a four-year-old girl from Maumelle and she not only fell in love with the game — she blossomed and has become just 11 years later one of the best golfers in the state.
She then moved to playing in tournaments for the Arkansas State Golf Association, the Arkansas Women’s Golf Association, the United States Jr. Golf Tour, and in the American Jr. Golf Association, her mother said.
She has now racked up an impressive record — winning more than 30 tournaments and placing in numerous others.
But last summer she was named to the Arkansas Tri-State team — a match play format where the best from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana play against each other.
This year the matches were held in Mississippi. Under Loeb’s leadership, Arkansas won.
Taylor’s mother said she practices as much as she can, usually around five days a week. But in the summer she tries to play everyday in but when school starts cut back to three to four times a week.
Since the family are members at the Maumelle Country Club, she plays there often and that has become one of her favorite courses. She said she loves the greens there and found them to be very junior golf friendly.
Taylor shot a 72 this past July at Conway Country Club — her lowest round ever. She went on to win that tournament and also was the overall low round winner for both boys and girls.
She’d love to play at the college level as an Arkansas Razorbacks and like anyone who spends as much time out on the course as she does —Taylor has dreams of turning pro.
Her advice to younger players, like her sister Lauren, is practice, practice , practice.
Taylor emphasizes the importance of short game practice. Hitting the ball far is only a small part of the game, she said. However, a good short game is what wins tournaments.
Golf has proven to help Taylor meet such a wide array of people, her mother said.
Taylor has met so many people playing golf and she has made life-long friends not just in Arkansas but in several states, she said.
Although she started doing gymnastics, it was taking too much time away from her real passion, so she quit gymnastics and has concentrated on golf.
Taylor is a 9th grader at Mount St. Mary’s in Little Rock, where she is on the school’s golf team.
She has won six out of the eight matches they have played. Taylor also made All-Conference and All-State at the 7-A state tournament earlier this year. She was one of only three girls to qualify in 7-A for the girls high school overall which was held at Pleasant Valley Country Club on Oct. 11.
She was the first girl from Mount Saint Mary to make it to that level since 1998! She shot an 85, only 5 strokes off the lead.
"There were eight girls within five strokes of each other — that’s how tough the competition was," Jennifer Loeb, Taylor’s mother said. She finished in 8th place out of 21 players. And she was the only freshman in the field.
Taylor’s first hole-in-one came at Pleasant Valley Country Club on hole #2 in June of 2010.
She is the daughter of Brian and Jennifer Loeb. Her sister, Lauren, 11, also has a passion for the game and has been quite successful herself. She plays in lots of tournaments as well and had her lowest round of 88 this summer at Mountain Ranch in Fairfield Bay.
"Taylor is one of the best golfers I have ever coached at Mount Saint Mary Academy. As a freshman, she has taken the Mount’s golf team to another level. In addition to all her many golf accomplishments, Taylor is an outstanding young lady and is blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family. I get such great joy watching her play, not only because she is so talented, but also because she is such a special person," Mount Saint Mary golf coach Marilyn Lenggenhager said.
Taylor said she looks up to Conway senior golfer, Summar Roachell. She has played with Summar for a number of years, and has learned so much from her. " I look up to her because she motivates me to work hard and always look at ways to improve my game. I love her confidence and commitment to the game. I hope to become as accomplished as she is," Taylor said.
Taylor’s favorite players on the Ladies Professional Golf Association include former Razorback Stacy Lewis, and Paula Creamer.
One thing is certain — Taylor Loeb is a name you’ll hear a lot more of.
Golf is her passion. She did gymnastics for a while, but decided to really focus on golf.