Sailors girls golf has fun while learning something new
Half of the nine-person Steamboat Springs High School girls golf team has never played golf and coach Shannon Hanley is all for it.
“It’s really changing gears to be more of a developmental program than just intensely competitive,” Hanley said. “Given the snow and the fact that we’re on the Western Slope, we don’t have the same advantage as girls in Grand Junction or Denver.”
The shift is following a preexisting pattern of the Sailors not being as competitive as other teams since Steamboat spends less time practicing on grass compared to other programs.
The Sailors have been practicing at Hanley’s golf studio using a trackman virtual golf screen and indoor putting area. They’ve also been able to practice at Sleeping Giant School and at the Steamboat Springs High School old gym using cork golf balls.
Sophomore Talia Barulla loves the team chemistry and practice environment so far.
“We have our own music playing. We go at our own pace having fun learning a new skill,” said Barulla.
Barulla wanted to learn to golf because she lives on Rollingstone Golf Course. Her dad plays a lot, and she thought it would be fun to join him in Steamboat or on vacations.
Fellow sophomore Ashley Anfang opted to join the team this year. She had yet to find a sport she wanted to stick with and knew a couple other girls on the team.
“Golf seems fun and I plan on coming back next year,” Anfang said. “I just wanted to try something new.”
When Hanley isn’t teaching newbies how to golf, she’ll be challenging sophomore Catherine LaRock and freshman Kaitlyn Grommeck, who are much more experienced golfers.
March 14 – at Palisade
March 17 – at Palisade
March 29 – at Eagle Valley
April 12 – at Rifle
April 18 – at Glenwood Springs
April 25 – at Eagle Valley
May 2 – at Moffat County
May 9 – at Aspen
May 13 – at Palisade
May 16 – at Gunnison
May 23 – Regionals at Montrose
May 31, June 1 – State at Tiara Rado in Grand Junction
Sophomore Catherine LaRock, who was one of the better golfers as a freshman last year, said she feels like practices are the same for her and Grommeck, but they just have a different mindset.
“Since we know our shot a little bit more, we don’t need as much help,” LaRock said. “We know how to correct ourselves when we get a bad shot. … We’re just more experienced overall mentally and physically.”
LaRock went to regionals last year and is hoping to return and maybe get to the state tournament.
Grommeck is just a freshman but has been playing golf for a long time. This will be her first season playing at the high school level but already has high hopes.
“I want to try to make it to regionals and state and see how I do,” she said. “I want to try to shoot in the low 70s.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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