Boys golf looking to improve on seventh place finish

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Boys golf has started slow due to unexpected weather and the team is eager to get outside and tee it up. Despite being forced inside for tryouts, the team is expecting to not only return to the State tournament, but take first in the conference as well.

Now that the weather is cooperating, the team has practice held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday when there are no matches. Practices are held at multiple courses such as Loggers Trail, Stillwater Country Club, and North Oaks.

Coaches John and Kyle Scanlon, who happen to be father and son, are looking forward to their eighth year of coaching together.

As golf is primarily played as an individual sport, playing as a team brings out the best in the game as well as the players. Coaches John and Kyle know how to do that best. The duo has been coaching together since 2011. Both golfers themselves, the two share a love for the game like no other.

John raves about his son’s golf game. Last summer, Kyle won seven PGA Tour events in Minnesota. He is also a pro at Rush Creek Golf Course. The duo recently became a trio, as Kyle had his first child. It is expected that the love of golf will be passed onto the next generation just as it had before.

“My son is a great player and he is real good with the guys. It is really nice. We get to spend time together and I couldn’t ask for a better assistant coach,” John said.

Captain Brock Winter is “really going to miss the coaches after the season” because they are really motivated to help the team to be the best players they can be.

The Scanlons’ teaching style rubs off well on the team. This season, the work ethic demonstrated on the course and the practice tees is something that high schools sports do not usually produce. Even when the weather is foul, the boys are always eager to step foot on the golf course. The team is dedicated to improving their game, and in golf there is always room for improvement.

“I feel like this year I’ve got a lot of, I call them gym rats, like in basketball where they never leave the gym. They are practicing all the time even when it is raining and miserable out they go out and play and have a great time,” John said.

We have won our conference and section the past two years which is pretty rare. I don’t know if it has been done before and it is not a frequent occurrence to go back to back. I think we have a pretty good chance of repeating a third time as conference and section champions.”

— John Scanlon

This season, the team is looking to use that work ethic to lead them to the state tournament. Last year, the boys team took a disappointing seventh place finish at the tournament. This year, being a top four finisher is an achievable goal. They are also looking to take first in their conference for the third year in a row.

“We have won our conference and section the past two years which is pretty rare. I don’t know if it has been done before and it is not a frequent occurrence to go back to back. I think we have a pretty good chance of repeating a third time as conference and section champions,” John said.

To maintain their golf game, there are two major components that everyone strives to improve. Short game and mental game are the most mentioned, and probably the most important aspects of the game. To help keep those intact, the boys team does not only play during the short lived high school season, but also in the off season as well.

“Putting and short game is so important. Putting is where you can pick up some shots ot just completely waste them. In the off season I play about 10 tournaments over the summer and in the fall I meet with swing coaches to make sure I am striking the ball well. In the winter, I go to the golf dome and putt in my basement,” junior Sam Schraut said.

Winter said, “The most important part of his game is playing the mental game. It is not easy to play the adverse conditions they have so it has to be a strong part of his game.”

Winter will be the team’s first team member to play collegiate golf at the division one level in while. This fall he will be headed up to Fargo to play for Steve Kennedy, North Dakota State University men’s golf coach.

“The campus is really nice and so are the facilities. They have a really good schedule and a really good conference and getting to travel throughout the winter is something I really enjoy,” Winter said.

The team’s first match was April 18 at Bunker Hills Golf Club, also where the state tournament is held. They played a round of 27 holes. The Suburban East Conference final will take place on May 21 at Indian Hills Golf Course. The final tournament of the year, the state tournament, will be held June 11 and 12 in Coon Rapids, Minn.

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