The sport teaches Butts a lot about discipline, hard work, making friends and not giving up. It's an individual sport, meaning she can't put any responsibilities on another teammate. It's also challenging because you never know what you're going to get.
"You can practice all the time and still have a bad day, so the hardest part is always trying to keep a good attitude and you keep persevering regardless if you're playing well or not," she said.
The 18-year-old St. Mary High School senior started playing as a young child and then for school in sixth grade. She's earned accolades for her efforts on the golf course and plans to keep playing golf in college.
"I just can't imagine my life without golf," she said. "I think that being able to play on a bigger scale will only help me improve. I think I can learn even more playing in a new location with new people."
Butts hasn't decided yet on where will attend college, but wants to go to a small liberal arts school and play golf there. Meanwhile, her career aspirations lie in helping others.
She's interested in medicine, particularly pediatric oncology, and feels being a doctor is a good way to help people. She'd like to work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital one day.
"I've kind of known for a long time that I wanted to have a job that involves helping people," she said. "Recently, I thought more that I would like to help kids because I just think it's the saddest thing when kids have diseases like cancer and they're not able to live to their full potential."
Butts, daughter of Todd and Kelly Butts of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors selected from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Near the end of the school year, a selection committee will pick one of these students as Teen of the Year, who will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Another student is selected for the Inspiration Award, which carries a $1,000 scholarship.
Butts is heavily involved in St. Mary programs, whether it's varsity golf, varsity soccer or varsity cheerleading. She's part of National Honor Society, Catholic Youth Leaders, Student Senate and school clubs, while also serving as class president for three years. She stays busy with extracurricular activities, while achieving a cumulative weighted 4.04 GPA and a composite 30 ACT score.
Butts has earned various honors for her efforts on the golf course or scoring goals as a forward on the St. Mary soccer team, including winning the First Region girls' golf individual title this year and receiving the team MVP in soccer for junior year. She's in her second year as a cheerleader.
School spirit is important to Butts and she loves St. Mary, who explained she likes the environment of a small school and how there are so many opportunities.
"I can get involved in whatever I want to get involved in and I know everybody, so I can communicate really well with everybody, including all the teachers," she said. "They all know us and care about us, so I love St. Mary."
Butts said she's ready for college, but doesn't have "senioritis."
"I really enjoy spending time with the people in my class and at my school and I love being at St. Mary, but I am ready to see what the next chapter of my life holds," she added. "I'm ready to meet new people and experience new things, but I also love the friends and the environment that I'm in now."
By Kelly Farrell