BILLINGS — Despite winning a state title last fall, things weren’t always golden on the golf course for Billings West’s Bella Johnson.
Johnson dealt with an injury throughout the season that required surgery at the end of the year.
“I’ve had to make a few adjustments. Definitely not swinging as hard. I’ve got to kind of step back a little bit so I don’t hurt myself again," Johnson told MTN Sports. "But honestly, things kind of feel the same. I’m not too extremely worried, just calming myself down a little bit was the only adjustment.”
A hip labrum torn in four spots hampered her throughout the year, but Johnson persevered to not only win the individual title, but also lead the Golden Bears to the State AA team crown. In a game that’s got a lot going on between the ears, Johnson showed both her mental and physical prowess.
“She showed a ton of her character last year. She was in pain every single time she played, to the point where there were days where she was more focused on managing the pain than managing the golf course," Billings West golf coach Marcus Drange said. "She just showed a lot of grit and energy toward the fact that she was determined and had goals in mind and was able to go and accomplish those by the end of the season.”
“I played through the season last year with that injury, then two years prior to that as well, then just got it fixed, so that’s been a little bit of a struggle. We’re past that now and I’m ready for this season," Johnson said.
Johnson now has her sights set on another state title this fall and has been working tirelessly throughout the summer to get her game in peak form. Despite the minor health setback just months ago, she hasn’t missed a beat.
“I’ve put a lot of work in. A lot of unnoticed work from people, too. Not on the golf course, but also at home, like working out and making sure I’m taken care of. So I’d say there was a lot more work this year than last year getting myself ready," said Johnson.
“She is kind of now going to fill into a couple of those roles, even though she’s not going to be a senior yet, which is nice, for her to grow and develop into an even better leader than she was last year," Drange said.
She just has a knack for making this game look easy.