Golf team low in numbers, recruits new players
September 21, 2013
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by Emily Wemhoff
“The start of the 2013 season has been pretty crazy,” golf captain senior Frankie Neunuebel said . After losing three varsity golfers Jackie McGee, Emily McCann and Alex Jackson to graduation last year, tryouts began with a disappointing low turnout.
“We knew we were going to have to get some other people to join if we wanted this to be a successful year,” Neunuebel said.
In the span of about two weeks, Neunuebel and athletic director Mark Hough were able to recruit six new players to turn the season around.
“I got a list of prospective freshman players from Mr. Hough and created a Facebook page to communicate with everyone,” Neunuebel said. “I told people about our new assistant coach Martha [Linscott] and how she would be able to really teach them how to play, even if they have never picked up a club before. I didn’t forget to tell them about [head coach Teresa Borchert’s] amazing chocolate chip cookies that she makes for us if we win putting contests in practice. I knew if nothing else, the cookies would get them to come.”
Although it was initially hard to convince people to join, the varsity team has since grown from five players in 2012 to seven players in 2013. Varsity has five new golfers.
“This year will definitely be a growth and learning curve year because we are not only building our JV but also our varsity by teaching new players,” Neunuebel said. “We’ll be even better next year because I’m the only senior leaving and we’ll be much more experienced.”
According to varsity golfer junior Ellie Shorter, golf is “so fun once you know what you’re doing.”
“It’s a great sport because there are a lot of [college] scholarship opportunities,” Shorter said.
So far, sophomore varsity newcomer Gabi Dorrell has enjoyed her first true year on varsity. Last year Dorrell jumped between JV and varsity.
“This team has absolutely gotten closer this year, even though things have been harder,” Dorrell said. “It’s been a lot different with only one senior to look up to, but Frankie has been really great at leading us.”
According to Neunebel, golf has many elements and is a hard sport to learn because it requires a good amount of patience.
“One of the hardest things is figuring out how to swing the club with good, even pace,” Neunuebel said. “It is really hard to get the ball off the ground at first.”
Shorter and Neunebel are both excited that the new girls will progressively improve and continue to learn about the game.
“Everyone is getting better with every practice,” Neunuebel said. “The new players are really starting to get the hang of it and are starting to work on more specialty shots. Returning players are learning better course management by playing in varsity tournaments.”
According to Shorter and Neunuebel, although the team is mostly new, they still have large hopes for postseason play.
“The two best teams in the area, Blue Springs South [High School] and [Notre Dame de] Sion High School are both in our district so making it to sectionals will be difficult,” Neunuebel said. “I guess we will have to work harder than ever before in order to prepare.”
After varsity lost three key players last year, the underclassmen will have to take a larger role.
“We each have a lot more responsibility now that the [graduated seniors] are gone,” Shorter said.
“We’ve had to shift our thinking, because now if we want to place well at a tournament we simply have to play better than we have in the past,” Neunuebel said.
“Consistent practice is a huge part of getting better,” Dorrell said. “Golf is a sport that you have to practice at least six times a week.”