When she made the lengthy trek down south on Interstate 77, her eyes lit up.
Jenn David spent quality time with her relatives and seriously considered following her siblings’ footsteps.
David’s aunt and uncle make their home in Athens, which is located along the Hocking River in the southeastern part of Ohio.
And what made it even more intriguing was her two older sisters, Marissa and Lexi, graduated from the city’s marquee attraction, Ohio University.
So if one was to consider making a bet, seeing the Hudson senior golfer wearing the Bobcats’ green and white colors seemed like a sure thing.
"When I went on my first unofficial visit to Ohio University, I stayed with my aunt and uncle," David said. "They told me, ‘We could do this every weekend.’"
David, who grew up near the large campus in Athens, was extremely tempted. She also was enticed by another Mid-American Conference school in northwest Ohio.
In the end, David decided against following Supertramp’s advice from its 1979 hit song.
She preferred not to "Take the long way home."
"I just wanted something new," David said. "When I visited the University of Toledo, I loved the coach. But the campus wasn’t right."
The third campus she considered, which also made its home in the MAC, was. And this institution is just a little more than 20 minutes away from her current hometown.
David, a three-time state qualifier, recently signed a national letter of intent to continue her academic and golfing careers at the University of Akron. She plans to major in marketing.
David finished seventh at the 2018 Division I state tournament and is the owner of just about every school record for female golfers at the high school located along Stow Road.
When she visited Akron, David was blown away. Therefore, the trips to southern Ohio to see her relatives will be limited in the next four years.
"I loved the coach, I loved my teammates and I loved my incoming teammates," David said. "The facilities are great. Everyone was happy with my final decision."
David’s road to becoming one of the best golfers in Ohio was one of those scripts that was made for Hollywood. And this particular screenplay has Academy Award written all over it.
David didn’t take the 15th century sport that originated in Scotland seriously until she was a freshman in high school.
"I loved basketball and soccer," David said.
An important person in her life liked something much less physically taxing.
David’s father, Rob, convinced his daughter to give golf a try when they moved to Hudson when she entered the eighth grade.
"We lived across a golf course when I grew up," David said. "My dad wanted me to get into it. I played my freshman year and I really liked it."
David was undeniably a novice when she first started smacking balls all over the place. The conclusion of her first high school season was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
That’s because she posted a triple-digit score during Division I sectional play.
"Doug [Snelling] was my coach my freshman year," David said. "Doug and my dad saw that I had potential. I just practiced over and over during the winter."
The practice didn’t end when the snowflakes faded away.
David could be seen striking balls in the summer and spring as well. In fact, since the teenager took the game so seriously, David eventually contacted a former PGA player, who once competed for a team that was the Zips’ main rival.
That particular individual also has a life-size version of the Claret Jug stored away in his trophy case.
His name is Ben Curtis, a Kent State University graduate who shocked the world by topping some of the best players in history to claim the 2003 British Open championship.
David has been getting tips from the four-time PGA Tour winner on a regular basis since May.
"Ever since I met Ben, I’ve been with him five to six days a week practicing my butt off," David said. "If I’m not feeling too good and Ben’s not there, I’ll call him up and he’ll help me get through it."
Curtis can relate to his determined teenage pupil. That’s because she’s almost a carbon copy of the former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
"I see a little bit of myself in Jenn," Curtis said. "She’s very committed to the game. [Former nine-time PGA major championship winner] Gary Player once said, ‘The harder I worked, the luckier I got.’ Jenn works extremely hard."
Hudson head coach J.T. Goodson has spent the last two years tutoring his star player. Of course, Goodson knew little was needed when it came to the gifted senior.
Sometimes, the best lesson he could offer was staying out of her way.
"She has pretty much everything," Goodson said. "She hits the ball extremely far and she’s a great putter. She putts a little bit like me. She goes for it and takes chances."
David grew quite fond of Goodson for helping her become an All-Ohio player after finishing outside the top 10 the previous two years.
She also enjoyed his wacky sense of humor.
"J.T. is a great coach," David said. "He brings a positive energy. I remember one time, it was 95 degrees with a lot of humidity. Before practice, he let us have a water-balloon fight.
"He always had fun ways to start and end practices. He stayed positive no matter how we did."
There are generally two types of golfers when it comes to how they approach the game.
The first type takes his or her time and considers every option before the club hits the ball. The second type is considerably less patient. He or she prefers not to mess around. Once the first shot is struck, the object is to tackle the next step without hesitation.
David falls under the latter category. For now, at least.
Curtis would like to see his restless prodigy give a little more love to the former category.
"I want her to take her time and be able to relax," he said. "Like everybody does, she gets hyped up. She’ll walk faster. It’s best to be aware of what your body is telling you.
"We’re working on getting her to slow down. She goes fast. She gets the yardage, pulls the club and off she goes. She hits it further than most girls. I’d like her to spend more time thinking about the shot she wants to hit."
David’s future team, on the other hand, is moving rather quickly. In this case, that’s not such a bad thing. Akron has been gaining significant speed when it comes to climbing the conference ladder.
The Zips finished third at the MAC Match Play Challenge last month. This accomplishment took place 10 months after Akron placed fourth at the 2018 MAC Championships.
David hopes the Zips can continue their progression. And she wants to play a major role in that ascent.
"I definitely believe I can crack the lineup," David said. "I want to be physically fit for college. I also want to have an open mind and meet new people. I don’t want to judge people too quickly."
David plans to continue honing her game at American Junior Golf Association tournaments during the spring and summer.
It only gets more difficult from this point on. If David wants to write the same script at Akron as she did at Hudson, the grueling, meticulous work will have to increase even more.
"The college level is tougher," Goodson said. "Everyone is good and it’s so much more competitive. I think the competition will be good for her. She is definitely ready for it."
David cherished her time playing for the Explorers. Those memories will surely tickle her funny bone for as long as she lives.
At the same time, though, her golf career is just beginning. The next chapter of her life will require some major changes if she wants to continue being successful.
David wouldn’t want it any other way.
"I loved my team at Hudson, especially last year," she said. "It was a lot of fun playing with all my teammates, especially [senior] Meaghan [Grant].
"Going to college will make me break out of my comfort zone. I’ll be going to a new school. I’m excited to meet new people. I’m going to put Hudson behind me, but I’ll use it as encouragement. I want to take what I gained from Hudson to Akron."
David will have to take the difficult step of moving forward from the school that put her golfing career on the map.
However, she plans to keep her current mentor, who overcame 300-1 odds to master a certain course in the United Kingdom nearly 16 years ago, by her side as long as possible.
"We talk all the time," Curtis said. "She has watched our kids a couple of times. In 10 to 15 years, she can always call me to ask for advice. I consider her to be almost part of the family now."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.