Cecilia Shenette shining for Auburn girls' golf team

Auburn junior girls' golfer Cecilia Shenette takes a practice swing during a recent match at Bedrock Golf Club.
Auburn junior girls' golfer Cecilia Shenette takes a practice swing during a recent match at Bedrock Golf Club.

“Cecilia,” a Simon and Garfunkel hit song, was released way back in 1970, but Auburn’s No. 1 golfer Cecilia Shenette, only 16, knows well its melody and catchy lyrics.

“People sing it to me all the time,” said Shenette with a laugh before quietly singing the chorus herself: “Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart. You’re shaking my confidence daily.” She added, “I even did some research and wrote an essay about the meaning of the song.”

Focusing on one of Paul Simon’s words, Shenette transitioned quickly to talking about golf.

“Confidence. Honestly, golf is all about confidence. If I’m confident, my game is so much better.”

With three top finishes in matches this fall, winning medalist honors for the Rockets, Shenette’s confidence on the links keeps growing.

“Cecilia has a great swing,” said veteran Auburn coach Mike Kaczynski. “It’s really beautiful to watch, and she just keeps improving and working hard.”

Shenette began playing golf with her father, Joseph, at Pakachoag GC in Auburn when she was in the seventh grade.

“It was frustrating at first, but once I got to high school and started playing more, I really began to love golf,” said the 5-foot-1 Shenette whose low nine-hole score at Pakachoag is 39. One of her longest drives this fall has carried 245 yards.

Shenette uses all Callaway clubs except for a single Srixon 3-iron. Her favorite club is her 60-degree wedge especially when she uses it from the fringe or just off the greens. Her favorite hole at Pakachoag is the short, downhill par-3 fourth where she chokes down on a pitching wedge and rarely misses the green.

Asked about her go-to swing thought, Shenette answered quickly. “On all my swings I try to shorten my backswing and shallow the club. It helps me not hit the ball to the left. I used to take a very long, John Daly-like backswing, way past my head without realizing it, but shortening up has really helped, kind of the way Jon Rahm and Tony Finau take the club back.”

Shenette praised Bob Bruso, the director of golf instruction at Blackstone National GC in Sutton, for his lessons especially last summer when she worked on her game just about every day.

“My swing has come so far since last year and I’ve become way more consistent,” said Shenette, who adds working out in a gym to her busy schedule.

“I like going to Anytime Fitness in Auburn a lot,” Shenette said. “It’s really helped me increase my swing speed and has increased my endurance on the course. I just feel stronger walking and carrying my clubs during rounds.”

Behind Shenette in the Rockets’ lineup last week at Bedrock in the match against Wachusett were No. 2 Molly Grandazzo, a freshman, who earned medalist honors in Auburn’s win over Quabbin. She was followed by freshman Isabel Zukowski, junior Rachel Cowden, junior Katie Valentine, freshman Maddy Kaye and senior captain Abigail Gaudreau.

Assisting Kaczynski in golf coaching duties this fall is Auburn science teacher and girls varsity soccer coach Emily Burokas.

Postseason plans announced

The spring girls' golf tournaments have been announced by the MIAA. The North/Central/West Golf Championship will be held on May 30 at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown

—Contact Jay Gearan at

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Shenette shining for Auburn girls' golf team