Adithi Anand turns to her younger brother Akshay and notes that they’re best buds — except when they’re competing on the golf course.
Laughter ensues as golf clubs ping in the background at the Bear Creek Country Club range in Woodinville on Monday afternoon, before the Redmond High golf teams participate in a scramble session.
Away from the team setting, the Mustang siblings not only try to best each other when they compete in match play, but they motivate one another to step up their game along the way.
“We get really into it, really competitive. It’s just the best, it’s so much fun,” Adithi said.
“We would not be here without each other,” noted Akshay, adding that it’s important to have his sister present to discuss his game in order to progress.
Akshay goes with a “no comment” when asked who’s the better golfer. Adithi said the final scores are usually pretty close, and it depends on the day as to who takes top honors.
The winner of match play or chipping contests gets to decree the other to either clean the victor’s golf shoes, room or car or take out the trash. No gambling allowed, Askshay said with a laugh.
Come May 21-22, the Anands and their Redmond High teammates will compete at the 4A state tournaments in Spokane.
Last fall, freshman Akshay won the two-day league and district event with a 72-69-141 by one stroke; he finished second by two strokes after day one. The Mustangs won the KingCo tournament as well.
Earlier this month, junior Adithi shot a first-place, two-day total of 71-73-144 and the girls won the league and district events.
“I’m pretty happy with how things are going,” Adithi said. “This is the first time we’re bringing five players as a school (since) I’ve been there. I’m really excited for us to see what we can do as a team, and see how I can improve from my past years.”
In her previous years at RHS, she took first at 3A districts and second at state as a freshman; and finished first at the 3A KingCo medalist tournament, tied for first at districts and placed eighth at state as a sophomore.
Last summer, she topped the age 14-18 division at the Washington Junior Golf Association state tournament on the Fairwood Golf & Country Club (Renton) and Meridian Valley Country Club (Kent) courses. During that event, Adithi shot her best-ever round of 66.
Her goal is to clean up her short iron and wedge shots at state. She feels confident overall and is thrilled that she’s added 15 yards to her drives with her new club.
Akshay’s best score is a 65, which he shot a few years ago on the Gold Mountain Cascade Course in Bremerton. He still remembers every shot to this day, Akshay added.
Following the fall season until now, he’s played in copious tournaments. Last year, he won the WJGA Eastern Open and Players Open in his age group and took ninth in a strong field at the American Junior Golf Association event in California.
His game plan heading into state: “Working on my mechanics, especially with my swing, short game. That just makes such a big difference, especially in this offseason. I worked hard,” he said.
The Anands’ parents enrolled them in various sports when they were younger, from baseball to basketball and more.
“Golf was the one thing that stuck with the both of us. We both really enjoyed it, and just watching our dad hit golf balls on the range really brought us into the game,” Akshay said.
They took up the game together when Adithi was 6 and Akshay was 4, first playing at Bellevue Golf Course and then becoming members with their family at Bear Creek. They’re now members at Sahlee Country Club, but will always consider Bear Creek their home course.
While leaving the range on Monday, the Anands ran into an old friend and spoke with him for a bit. The siblings smiled at each other and headed for the course.
“It’s the community, mainly,” Adithi said of one of her favorite aspects of golf. “You get to know a person a lot when you spend four hours straight with them. I (like) spending a lot of time with people who have similar interests as you and people who wanna see you improve.”
The Reporter asked the Anands a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Akshay: You’re not what you shoot. I think that’s really important because after a golf round, especially for how grueling it is, you’re by yourself, you don’t have anybody else to go over with until after the round. Knowing that just because you didn’t perform well that day, doesn’t make you a bad person or doesn’t make you feel bad.
Adithi: That was exactly what I was gonna say (laughs). I tell my teammates this all the time. This goes outside of just golf: you’re not what your grades are, you are not what you shoot that day. I think it’s really important to keep yourself up and make sure you’re doing OK so you can do your best.
What’s your main goal in life?
Akshay: To be the best person I can be, not just on the golf course but off the golf course as well.
Adithi: (Whispering) You’re taking all my answers.
Reporter: It’s good that they’re similar, it shows how tight you guys are.
Akshay: Just being able to strive for what I’m able to accomplish and knowing what I’m able to accomplish. Getting that done is huge for me.
Adithi: Just be someone’s role model, be someone that other people look up to. People say like, “Oh, when I grow up, I wanna just care about people the way she does” or “I want to influence people the way she does.” I have so many role models in life, including my golf coach, where I’m like, “I want to be like them.” I want someone to look at me like that.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Akshay: “The Pursuit of Happiness” is a good one. Really appreciate that, it’s one of our favorite movies, a family movie.
Adithi: I’ll have to go with “Mulan.” There’s something about it, every time I watch it, it’s just the best. I’d watch it over and over again.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Akshay: Just irritating noises. Like tapping of a pencil. They seem really small, but the rhythmic things, it just clicks in my mind, it’s just, “Oh my goodness, can you please stop doing that?”
Adithi: When people chew loudly. It just gets on my nerves. My brother knows this, ‘cause sometimes we’ll be out at a restaurant and the table next to us, I can hear, and he just looks at me and starts laughing. And I’m like, “Ohhhh.”
Reporter: Does he chew OK?
Adithi: Yeah, he chews fine. Sometimes he does it to annoy me.
What’s something unique about yourself that maybe somebody doesn’t know?
Adithi: Before people know me, I seem very quiet. I have a very interesting personality. I’m usually the person who’s always like loud or doing weird things. I’m pretty weird. I think my brother would agree on that. He’s always, “Stop dancing in public.” (laughs)
Akshay: For sure, and I think that segue-ways into what I was about to say. I may seem like a pretty extroverted person, but I still feel a little insecure about certain things going on or certain actions. That’s why I still watch the things that I do in public, make sure I don’t embarrass myself or embarrass the people around me. My sister knows that really well. (laughs)
What’s your dream vacation spot?
Akshay: I love Maui. Maui’s just incredible. So many golf destinations — Kaanapali, Kapalua — and the pineapple there is just extraordinary. Out of the world, never had anything like it before. And who’s gonna say no to that weather? Scottsdale (Arizona) comes in a close second.
Adithi: There’s this place in Bahama where you can go swimming with these water pigs. I just think that’s super cool and I wanna go there and try that.
What special skill would you like to learn?
Akshay: Juggling would be pretty cool. It seems a lot of people demean the idea of juggling, but being able to do that takes a ton of hand-eye coordination.
Adithi: Actually being able to dance. I do it very ironically, but it would be very cool to actually know how to dance.