The great things about high school golf
The high school season is under way, and most of my high school-aged students have played in at least two tournaments and three meets by now. Tournaments are 18-hole events with multiple schools competing, and meets are 9-hole events generally between two schools. I was fortunate to assist in coaching a girls high school team between 2004 and 2007 with some success. Our best finish was second in state, but we qualified three years in a row, and I enjoyed the experience. It also taught me a number of things about the play and the people. This week I will focus on the good stuff. Next week …
High school golf is a great experience for all aspiring golfers to meet people, play hard, have successes and suffer failures, develop skills and learn shortcomings – a bit like life really! High school golfers learn to budget their time. Most players leave school right at the end of the school day and don’t get home until 8 or 9 at night, and then have to do homework!
High school golf is an equal opportunity sport, so players who shoot even par will occasionally play with players that shoot 30 over. The gulf in abilities is pretty large, but this will help make the poorer players want to get better.
Coaches are enthusiastic about their teams and want their players to do well. Most will go the extra mile to make sure deadlines are met and players perform to the best of their abilities. It is pretty exhausting for the coaches, too, as they drive the teams everywhere.
High school golf is often played on great golf courses and gives players the opportunity to see and play some private clubs on occasion. Local country clubs host a number of teams in the western suburbs.
Golfers get to carry the school bag and feel part of a team. They are also given a team uniform (shirt) that identifies them as having reached the pinnacle of their chosen high school sport.
High school golfers often form friendships and bonds that last way beyond high school years. I have lost count of people who still meet and have fun with their old high school teammates, and that isn’t just in golf.
The pinnacle of high school golf is the state championship, conducted like every other high school sport in Illinois by the IHSA. The best teams and individuals in the state compete in a 36-hole (or two-round) event, and the winner and winning teams can feel very proud of their accomplishments.
Next week: Problems with high school golf.
Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.