By: Vivian Shillingsburg
I bet a lot of you didn’t even know that we had a girl’s golf team here at Heritage. I know it’s not the most popular sport, but you would be surprised. Girls golf has grown 13 percent in the past five years and 34 percent of all golfers are female. Though it is not the most common sport among women, it is still a very large and a very special community, and the team at Heritage is part of it.
Our team this year is made up of eight girls. We have two seniors, Amanda Olson (captain) and Caitlin Tofolo (captain); two juniors, Mary Sears Brown (captain) and Rachel Pontius; two sophomores, Erin Alden and Campbell Murph;, and two freshmen, Vivian Shillingsburg, and Heather Appelson. And of course, our coach, Mr. Hayman. We practice every week, Monday through Thursday, at Heritage Golf Club. We usually have one match once a week, but we do have a couple weeks off to practice and refresh. A lot of people don’t really know how a golf team works since golf is usually an independent sport. It can be confusing, even for people familiar with the sport. Every week before a match, we compete to play in the upcoming match. The person with the best score (lowest number) that day plays in the number one slot, the person with the second-best score plays in the number 2 slot and so on. Out of the eight of us, only five of us play in matches. When we play in a match, the three lowest scores are combined and compared to the other teams combined scores. The team with the lowest combined score wins the match.
Since it is an uncommon sport, especially for girls, we are constantly being asked: “Why golf?” For me, golf is my passion. I work hard at it every single day. I play in tournaments on the weekends, and I put in at least fifteen hours of hard work during the week. Some of the girls, like Mary Sears and Heather, do the same thing. We grind it out all week to perform the best that we can in our tournaments, and we do the same for school matches. Some of the other girls play to be part of a team and build life-long friendships and skills. One of our captains, Amanda Olson, loves being on the team: “Throughout the past four years, I have made some of the most wonderful memories and friendships that I’ll keep with me my whole life.” Campbell Murphy shares similar sentiments “I like being on the golf team because I enjoy playing and I like the atmosphere.” When interviewing Erin, she told me that she likes being on the team because “[She] loves playing on the course every day with the girls knowing that [she] ha [s] their support.” All of the girls on the team put in a lot of hard work, and it shows. Every day at practice we work hard to improve our game. Our team is very driven and we are aiming to win most of our matches this year. Coach Hayman makes sure that we are focused and working hard. He devotes the two hours of practice to make sure that we are doing our best and learning from our mistakes. He is supportive and dedicated to making our team the best we can be. This year we are hoping to send the whole team to regionals and, for some of us, even states. Mary Sears Brown, another one of our captains, made it to regionals her freshman year and made it to states last year. Heather, our standout freshman, has already left an outstanding impression on the team, scoring the lowest numbers in our first two matches, helping us place first in both. Erin Alden has also posted a score to help our team win a match. Some of our other players have set goals for themselves, as well as the team. All of these personal goals are going to help our team continue to win and dominate the field.
Golf, of course, is a huge part of our team, but a team can’t be a team without friendship. Though the season has just started, we have already bonded and we are already a tight-knit family. We are all excited to watch each other improve and grow on the course. Golf is mentally and physically hard, but with a team, it makes it a lot easier to balance everything. Continue to follow us!
Now that you know about our team, I hope that you have a little more interest, and maybe even want to come watch a match or two. Our next home match is on Sept. 17 at Heritage Golf Club, so come out and support! If you are interested in coming to watch us but don’t know how it works, don’t be afraid to ask one of us and we would be happy to explain! We hope to see you there!