Thanks largely to influx of freshmen, girls golf team triples in size

Larger team has created a scarcity of resources outweighed by supportive environment, team bonding

In+2020-2021%2C+the+girls+team+could+only+send+two+and+a+half+foursomes+out+on+the+golf+course%2C+but+this+year+the+team+can+make+seven+with+a+couple+of+golfers+to+spare.

Sophie Kessler

In 2020-2021, the girls team could only send two and a half foursomes out on the golf course, but this year the team can make seven with a couple of golfers to spare.

Sophie Kessler, staff reporter

With the new freshman class bolstering its roster, the 2021-2022 edition of the girls golf team has 30 golfers on it, nearly triple in size from the 2020-2021 edition. Factor in the addition of a new coaching staff, and the team is now facing some new, but welcome, challenges.

On a school team, there’s a sense of [community] when you’re playing with other people that you see on a regular basis” ”

— Varsity golfer Callen Romell

The changes are most prevalent for the upperclassmen. Sophomore varsity golfer Carys Blaney has seen more than a few changes over the years.

“A lot has changed, like practice. There have been fewer resources, such as school-provided clubs, tees, and balls. It’s harder to get the whole team involved in tournaments.”

McCallum coaches have also seen their share of change. Coach Richard Salazar has now added coaching golf to his resume, adding to his wrestling coach experience. Taking over for Nancy Nitardy after she retired last year, Salazar says the best part of coaching is building relationships.

“​The best part is the student-athletes I get to coach,” explains Salazar.  

“They are a diverse group of individuals, and it is great to see them succeed and grow as student-athletes within golf.” 

During last year’s COVID epidemic, the team suffered from low participation. Going from 10 to 30 girls on the team, supply shortages are a new issue. But Blaney said there are some positives to the growing team numbers.

We can finally feel like leaders because we have underclassmen to lead.”

— junior varsity golfer Cate Thomson

“The girl’s golfing team has definitely gained popularity this year with the incoming freshmen and the advertisement from the new coaches,” Blaney said. “The increase in players has overall been positive.”

Blaney added that one of the major positives, team bonding, has been aided by the return of in-person school.

“The rewarding sportsmanship and friendliness of the McCallum golf team is truly a good environment to create relationships in. My personal perks for being in varsity are of course a letter on my jacket, a closer friendship with my fellow varsity players, and an opt-out of school for tournaments.”

Golfer Emily Tweedel agrees that the best part of the team is the community and the bonds formed between the girls, despite golf being an individual sport. 

“We’re all pretty close despite having a lot of differences in interests,” Tweedel said.

The diversity in ages in the team has also led to opportunities for upperclassmen to peer teach. Junior Cate Thomson said this mentoring is needed as the coaches adjust to their new positions.

“We can finally feel like leaders because we have underclassmen to lead,” one veteran team member observed. “I think it’s important that [the new members feel like they] can approach us. It’s a really special thing for us to be able to build leadership and communication skills. ”

The golfers and their first-year coaches are looking forward to the rest of the season and hopefully years of learning in the future.