Putting towards a championship season
April 27, 2016
The Stillwater boys golf team placed fourth in an invitational against 32 teams on April 14. The team has enjoyed a good start, and the expectations are high for the rest of the season.
The team practices daily at Stillwater Oaks Golf Course and consist of boys in grades 7-12. Last season, they finished second in the conference and fourth at sections and despite losing key players, the team is looking to do even better in 2016.
The team practices vary day to day. Practice consists of more than just going out and playing golf, there are specific skills that the team works on.
“On half the practices we go out and play nine holes, but it’s much more effective to practice then just go out and play nine holes,” head coach John Scanlon said. “Everybody has got phones now with video on them to work on swing stuff,” he added.
The 2016 captains are junior Parker Anderson and senior Joe Sorenson. Last year, the team lost some seniors and this year’s team is relatively young.
“I think some of the younger guys like [sophomore] Brock Winter and [sophomore] Cole Jahnke are having breakouts seasons this year so they’re filling the role of seniors that graduated,” Sorenson said.
In the first conference tournament of the season, the varsity team came in third out of nine teams and the JV won.
“As a team, we’re looking to win conference, then win sections and make it to state as a team,” Anderson said.
The team is not quite as experienced as teams of the past. Coach Scanlon describes it as a three legged stool. Practice is one leg, instruction is another and tournament play is the last. Without one leg, the stool falls over.
“We just haven’t played a lot of tournament golf. A lot of the sophomores have not played hundreds of tournaments which you need to do,” Scanlon said, referring to a group of seven sophomores all capable of playing varsity.
Most think of golf as an individual sport, but high school golf emphasizes the team. In a match six people compete and the top 4 scores are added together to determine the winner.
“Our motto on the team is the fourth score is the most important score. If you have three good scores and a bad fourth score you most likely won’t win the tournament,” Anderson said. “You have to hang in there if you’re having a rough day because you do it for the team,” he added.
The team practices hard, but does find time to have fun. Among other things, the team plays a game called lightning in which they pick a place to putt from and try to knock each other out. It is similar to lightning in basketball.
“It is individual, but there is a lot of comradery on the team. We try to do fun things together: pasta dinners and that sort of stuff,” Scanlon said.
Many people think of golf as a leisure activity, but that is not the case for the high school team. The time and training that goes into the sport makes it more than a leisure activity for the players.
“It’s definitely enjoyable, but some people don’t see it as a competitive sport. It definitely is,” Anderson said.