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Girls learning the game from the ground up
USELESS BAY — The girls of golf are ready to rock.
“I think, even though we have a young team, we’ll do very well,” said the Falcons’ team leader, senior Brandi Winn.
But even she has to overcome a few obstacles.
“Putting. Short putts should be the easiest for me, but I have a tendency to hit to the right,” she said. “That’s what I work on out here, every day.”
Falcon coach Tom Sage said his very young team is enthusiastic, good-natured and eager to learn.
The coach said the first order of business for each new season is getting everyone up to speed on the essentials: Learning the rules of the game to prevent disqualification, upgrading the short game — putting and chipping — and course management.
“Golfers at every level need to be able to read the course to stay out of trouble; whether to use a 7-iron or a driver can make a big difference,” he explained.
“I’m teaching the fundamentals, the need for good techniques and rules,” he said. “As I tell them, it’s not rocket science — it’s harder.”
He noted that golf is an unusual sport because there are no referees, so decisions on the course have to be made when no one is around.
“That builds character and teaches players to referee themselves and become self reliant; something they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
He noted that the rules of moving the ball without penalty, dealing with hazards — bunkers, traps and water — all need to be explained and understood if the girls want to maximize their experience on the links.
Another factor is golf etiquette, especially the requirements to speed up play.
“At this age, they have a tendency to be a little slow, but we’re working on that.”
Sage teaches math and woodshop at Langley Middle School and has coached football, wrestling and golf since 1992. He took four golf teams to state between 2002 and 2005.
He said the excitement by girls for the game are infectious.
“They’ve also taught me a lot over the years about the need to be more sensitive,” he added.
Sage and assistant coach Ron Eaton share high hopes for Winn.
“Brandi has a window to get to state finals this year. She’s good in all areas, but must retain a consistent game to be successful,” he said. “Doing everything right the same way every time. It’s a tough mental sport, competing four hours straight through all kinds of weather.”
For her part, Winn said she tries to stay positive.
“The less serious I am, the better I play.”