SEQUIM — Combining dancing and golf aren’t two activities that would seem to go together well.
But it has worked out for Sequim’s Hailey Estes, who has blossomed into the ace on the Wolves’ girls golf team the past two years after a life-long pursuit of dancing that started when she was a little tyke.
Her golf coach of all four years, Garrett Smithson, sees the benefit of combining the two disciplines.
“Hailey’s golf swing is solid,” he said, “because of her balance [she received from dancing].”
Estes, who graduated from Sequim High School a few days ago, was a member of the Pioneer Dance Arts for 15 years before it left the area.
She became proficient in ballet, modern jazz and tap dance, and the dancing is one of two reasons she will be attending highly regarded Wake Forest starting this fall.
“Wake Forest has a good dance program, and they have a really good undergraduate business program,” Estes said.
“I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m inspired by my parents.”
Her parents — Kevin and Jo Ane — own Estes Builders, with locations in Sequim and Poulsbo.
Wake Forest is a private liberal arts university in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The 2012 class valedictorian will be taking her perfect 4.0 grade-point average to the Division I ACC school.
“I’m happy for her,” Smithson said about Estes’ entrance into Wake Forest.
“That’s a tough academic school.”
Not one to under-achieve, Hailey Estes also spent the year as the Sequim High School student-body president.
“Hailey was outstanding on and off the course,” Smithson said.
“She volunteered at charities such as the Children’s Hospital and the Boys & Girls Clubs, she was a great student and was all-academic Olympic League all four years.”
Back when she was a youngster and taking dance lessons, Estes also was tinkering a little bit with golf.
Between dance classes she would take a golf club and hit a ball around her family’s driveway.
That was all thanks to her grandfather, Gene Collet, a member of Sequim’s SunLand Golf & Country Club.
Collet gave all his grandchildren golf clubs.
The youngest in the family, Estes received her clubs at age 5.
“I was the only one who took to it,” Estes said. “I like the challenge of it.”
Still, Estes didn’t play tournaments or competitively until she started high school.
She figured her golf swing could help her be competitive on the Wolves’ golf team.
“I have always had a good, natural swing,” she said.
Her first two prep years she spent watching and admiring teammate Zoei Zbaraschuk, who dominated girls golf on the North Olympic Peninsula for several years.
“Zoei Zbaraschuk inspired me to play better,” Estes said.
After Zbaraschuk graduated, Estes blossomed her junior and senior years, taking over the team leadership role and becoming the team ace.
Estes tied for second in the Olympic League this year with an average score of 48.4, easily making the all-league team, and she had the highest finish from the North Olympic Peninsula at the 2A state tournament after tying for 28th place.
She also was named the All-Peninsula Girls Golf MVP.
Estes credits her short game for elevating her to ace status.
“I don’t hit the ball very far, but I almost always made up for it around the green,” she said.
“I’m almost always the shortest hitter.”
Estes is being way too modest, Smithson said.
“She’s not giving herself a lot of credit,” he said. “Her short game is solid, but when she hits her tee shot close to the green, she always has a chance to make par.”
Estes will be missed next spring, Smithson said.
“She is a complete package. The last two years she stepped into Zoei’s role to be a team leader.
“She’s a great young lady, and she will be missed.”
Now it’s quality and bonding time with her grandfather before she heads to Wake Forest in the fall.
She plays golf with her grandfather at least once a week, and Estes also plays the sport with the rest of her family.
How does her grandfather feel about her golf accomplishments?
“He’s very pleased,” Estes said.A precious set of golf clubs for a 5 year old that continues to pay dividends.