Golf

Golf

allison harwood

Junior Lee York has pictures of himself wearing a diaper and holding a golf club.
“My dad always played, and seeing him riding around on a golf cart made me want to play,” York said.
York’s team member sophomore Wilson Hack has been playing since he was two years old. Both golfers were inspired by their dads to start playing competitively.
Golf differs from other popular sports such as football, baseball and basketball in that it is individual. While the athlete’s success benefits the team as a whole, practices are really about improving individual skills.
“You try to do good as a team, but no one else can affect how you do personally,” sophomore Nick Hay said.
Golf tournaments consists of five or six golfers from each school who all do 18 holes each. Scores are calculated individually, and the school’s score is determined by the best four scores from each school.
While the individuality of the sport does take some of the pressure off and make it easier, it still presents the challenge of having a very large playing field and a very small ball.
“I think it’s one of the hardest sports because it is one of the smallest holes to get one of the smallest balls through,” York said.
Not only is it hard to land the golf ball in the exact right spot, but the golfer has to do it 18 times.
“There is a reason golf is a four letter word,” coach Matt Gudenkauf said. “It is not an easy game. It is even harder to play 18 straight holes without making a single mistake which could ruin the entire round.”
Golf also is not as competitive as other sports.
“Golf isn’t competitive in the same way as other sports, it is the golfer vs. the golf course more so than golfer vs. golfer,” Gudenkauf said.
While basketball players can count on heading to the gym every day to work on their shots, golfers have variance when it comes to where they are going to practice.
“[We mainly practice at] Eagle Bend, but we do have one day at Lawrence Country Club, and one day at Alvamar,” Gudenkauf said.
He describes this year’s team as “young.” The team lost stars Connor Klutman (‘10) and Evan Schmidt (‘10) who graduated last year. This year’s team only has one senior, but Gudenkauf is not concerned.
“I am excited; we have a rather young team this year, with only one senior, Jake Sakumura,” he said. “We will be competitive, and even though we are young, these young men will represent Free State extremely well. I think when the season is over, we will be able to look back and say we had a great year.”