Steamboat girls golf showcases young roster for 2023
It is a new era for the Steamboat Springs girls golf team in 2023.
With just one upperclassman on the roster, several freshman athletes newer to the sport and a new head coach, this is an opportunity to begin growing a girls golf powerhouse in Steamboat.
The team’s lone junior, Catherine Larock, was a captain last season and said being the only girl with multiple seasons under her belt is exciting. She looks forward to mentoring the freshman girls and see herself grow as a person, too.
“My goal is to get these girls used to the game and get them to be confident in their abilities to create a shot,” Larock said. “I think the whole golf team is like a sisterhood so just building that team and getting them on the course is really important.”
This season, like most, the girls are at a severe disadvantage and are forced to practice inside because of the winter weather.
The team practices in the weightroom of the high school where they set up nets, mats and a small putting green to practice.
Despite the tough situation, the girls and head coach Andrew Donner try to make the most of it. Mentally, there can even be some advantages.
“Obviously it’s not the most ideal but it can be pretty nice,” said Steamboat sophomore Kaitlyn Grommeck. “Sometimes I worry too much about where my ball is going but with the nets, I feel like I can work on my swing more and not focus on where the ball is going.”
The girls competed in their first tournament of the season at the Chipeta Kick Off Classic in Grand Junction on Monday, March 13.
It was the first time Donner had seen most of them play on grass and the first time any of the girls had the opportunity to play a full 18 since fall 2022.
Grommeck and Larock were Steamboat’s top finishers with Grommeck taking second overall and Larock coming in 19th.
Grommeck finished her regulation 18 tied for first and competed in a playoff hole for the win. She said her biggest struggle of the day was in the tee box and those nerves followed her to the 10th tee box for the extra hole.
“In the playoff I was really nervous because I wasn’t expecting that,” Grommeck said. “When I was hitting, my arms were shaking and then I looked back after I hit and the whole clubhouse was watching.”
Grommeck said her tee shot was not great but she made up for it with a good chip and a putt for par. Her opponent birdied the hole to take first, leaving Grommeck with the silver medal.
Donner was impressed with what he saw from the first showing and thinks it shows promise for the near and distant futures of the program.
He confirms practicing inside is never the hope but when done right, hitting off the artificial mats can get his girls prepared for what he believes will be a great spring season of golf.
“The book says 10,000 hours of practice will make you an expert,” Donner said. “I say 10,000 swings, so just keep swinging.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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