Sylvie Brick is a shape-shifting breed of golfer with a knack for versatility. She's like Doogie Howser, Mrs. Huxtable, and a Ford truck commercial all neatly assembled to make Marian Catholic's No. 1 black-and-white polka-dotted golfer.
According to swing coach Billy Fitzgerald and junior Bree Veazey, Brick not only uses her intellect to tailor her game on the links, but can also often act as a safety net for her teammates.
"Usually she knows what she did wrong before she hit it," Fitzgerald said. "She can make adjustments out on the golf course. She doesn't get bothered because she'll fix it."
Veazey has found that Brick aims her talent and compassion at her fellow Spartans.
"When she sees we're down, she wants to know what happened on what hole and figure out what you were doing," Veazey said. "She'll ask if we're tired or if we need water. She does have a motherly touch, and we're more familiar with her. She's just always trying to help your game, kind of like a coach would do."
Even Fitzgerald has trusted Brick's judgment enough to swap roles and allow her to give him a lesson while at Desert Mountain in Arizona.
"More than anything, it's not like working with a 17-year-old," Fitzgerald said. "I'm working with a good player who understands the game. I can have conversations about the game that I couldn't have with a lot of other people."
Fitzgerald, the director of instruction at Olympia Fields Country Club, finds her level of maturity and insight remarkable.
"She's learned to deal with her emotions and her mistakes and those are the biggest things in golf," Fitzgerald said. "Even in college, players that are older than Sylvie take a longer time to learn that. How you deal with bad outcomes or a bad break, that's what makes her a better player. You just need to keep calm and even keel and you don't want to burn yourself out with highs or lows."
Brick's golf game has developed faster than one of those little blue pills that turn into a spongy tyrannosaurus rex when you splash water on it. With three years of competitive play under her belt, the heavily recruited Spartan has sprung up to 308th in the American Junior Golf Association Polo Rankings.
"This last year has been huge, because I've been able to hone in some of my skills," Brick said. "I think I'm more mature and understand that it's just golf and if I work hard, the possibilities are endless. I've been able to just let things happen I guess instead of trying to force it. That's a huge mindset to have this year. You don't want to build it up that much."
Brick refuses to build herself up either.
"We really feed off each other," Brick said. "I can't say that I'm a leader, because I feel like everybody has something specific and special and together we help each other out."
Regardless of whether Brick accepts it, Marian coach Linda Gilley knows she is an asset to the team.
"She has the whole picture," Gilley said. "She works very hard and gets to business at practice. I think the girls do look up to and respect her and Bree. They are natural leaders. She just has a lot of dedication and sets a good example."
One example her teammates might not be able to follow is her style of play. According to Fitzgerald, Brick actually hopes for bad weather the night before tournaments.
"I like to think that I can handle the elements better than anybody else," Brick said. "When everything is being thrown at you, I have to have blinders and know that I have the ability to do that. I play my best golf in the fall with the wind and cold weather. It all fits for my game.
To her, this is the perfect advantage going into state when the air becomes frigid, the wind hastens and the ground hardens.
"The worse the weather gets, the better Sylvie is," Fitzgerald said. "It goes directly back to her game. She can hit for a country mile, and other girls can't compress the ball. The truth comes out when there is bad weather, but when you have control over the ball like she does, the weather doesn't really matter."
Through her time Brick has learned to control her manners, her emotions and her golf ball. In her last year of high school, she hopes to finally control the leaderboard down at state.