The Winning Team: The Success of Girls Varsity Golf


Taysha Brune, Editor

Lakota West’s golf team relies on focus, confidence, and mental attitude to score the lowest amount of strokes as they can, and with their end season match record of eleven wins and only five losses, their mentality has paid off.

West’s fall sports certainly set the bar for outstanding performances by athletes and their exceptional coaches. The football team scored touchdown after touchdown under Coach Bolden’s guidance, and the soccer teams each accumulated a seemingly never-ending array of points. But, a different battle rages in golf, where the goal is to score the least.

A golfer accumulates points, called strokes, representing the amount of times they attempted to hit the ball into the hole. When each player of each team finishes playing each hole, the scores of the four best-performing players are added together. The team with the least amount of strokes wins. Golf at Lakota West High School is played in either nine-hole games called matches or eighteen-hole games called tournaments.

A single golfer can be playing anywhere from two to five hours at a stretch, so the players place great importance upon athleticism. Not only is physical endurance significant, but the players’ mental health may be even more crucial.

Golf isn’t won through brute strength or fierce aggression, but through precision, strategy, and focus. A golfer may juggle several key factors in mind when preparing to take a shot. Distance from the hole, wind speed and direction of the area, the kind of terrain, and not to mention which club to use can all be deciding factors in a game of golf.

Linda Coffey, the girls varsity coach, says that her job is twofold. She acts as a mentor in matches and tournaments, “keep[ing] the girls focused and calm while playing.” Golf is a serious sport, one where mentality can be the difference between a win and a loss. She even notes the quality indicating a great golfer: the ability to “shake off a bad shot and not let it affect the rest of the game.” Golfers must have determination, tenacity, and meticulous focus. Coffey believes that her team has improved to exemplify these characteristics. The team’s scores decreased as the season progressed–the teammates were growing and learning from their mistakes. This is a quality that makes them truly successful.

Her second task? Distribute the girls’ favorite food–Scooby Doo fruit snacks.

The team manager, senior Bethanie Poe, adopts a similar perception around the sport. She places a huge emphasis on mental stability, saying that golf is mostly a mental game. She recognizes that the players can “get hung up on a singular bad shot and it impacts the rest of [the] game.” However, Poe has a way to combat the potential game-ruining overthinking. She instead recognizes how the outdoors can be “serene” and have mood-stabilizing effects.

Though golf is largely independent, with individual players depending upon, scoring, and refereeing themselves, Poe acknowledges the true teamwork and community built in West’s varsity golf. She is “so proud” of the team’s performance this past season, but Poe considers each golfer’s personal growth and improvement to be “an even bigger victory.”

By the end of the season, the journey of a golf team can be hard to leave. Coach Linda Coffey’s favorite part of coaching is “getting to know the girls.” She roots for their personal growth, and is their biggest fan when they reach their goals. She’s sad when they graduate because by that time, the players have become “daughters” to her. However, she “look[s] forward to the beginning of each season” because beginnings only mean new goals to reach and new games to be won.