Teeing up with golf


T.H. Kinder

Senior Mac Mulock is in the zone as he find the best angle to line up the perfect shot.

The golf team has wrapped up their 2017 season after competing in the District and Regional tournaments. Over the course of the season, the team played at various country clubs and tournaments, finishing with a 2-4 record in regular season play and placing fifth out of six in the District tournament.

The season started early, beginning the first week of August at either Army Navy Country Club or East Potomac Country Club. Practices are two days a week and tournaments are one or two times a week. Tournaments are won by the team with lowest number of points in an 18 hole round, based on how many shots it took to get the golf ball into the hole. “Tournament atmospheres are pretty relaxed and fun,” senior Mac Mulock said. ”Sometimes the courses are pretty far away so the total time commitment varies widely but tournaments are normally about two hours.”

Coach Michael Kelly is in his third year as head varsity coach. While many sports coaches work at the school, Coach Kelly works as a full-time golf instructor and was most recently the Director of Instruction at Top Golf. “Coaching for the high school was initially just a worthwhile use of my free time while not giving private lessons,” Coach Kelly said. “I feel committed to the kids and the program.”

Golf requires a lot of practice and coordination because of all the problems you could run into with the course, weather, or your clubs. “Golf is a mental game, physical stuff is important but guys who win are able to do so because they are mentally tough and focused,” Mulock said. “There are a lot of players who have great physical skill but their mental state is a wreck so they never perform well when it matters.”

The strategy and focus needed to play is what draws many players to it. There is always something to practice, even professionals in the biggest golf tournaments in the world still make mistakes. “My dad plays a lot of golf and he got me interested in it,” Mulock said. “It is very difficult. Anyone can do it but it takes an exorbitant amount of time and effort.”

Senior John Mason tried golf for the first time this season and made varsity. “The only experience I had was a couple of rounds with at the end of the school year, now I go putt and hit balls every other night and it can be hard and frustrating,” Mason said. “I think golf is the hardest game I’ve ever taken up.”

Junior Max Clegg qualified to represent the school as an individual in the Regional tournament at Dominion Valley Golf club, where Langley High School won. Clegg shot an 81 and 79 through the two round tournament. “I just try to not take it too seriously because I play better when there is little stress,” Clegg said. “I enjoy how relaxing it is and the satisfaction of hitting a good shot.”

The golf team is school sponsored, making it a free and accessible way to learn the sport and practice on nice courses in the area. Golf requires a variety of things to play including, courses, clubs and somewhere to learn and practice that are sometimes difficult to access. “Being on the golf team allows us to play at country clubs that we normally would never be able to play,” Mulock said. “We also get free range balls and rounds of golf during practice.”

Golf is a science of correct and precise muscle movements. It is regarded as one of the hardest sports to master. “Golf is unique because it is one of the only ball sports in which natural athleticism makes little difference without a sound foundation. It requires, on average, several years of training and practice to hit shots with consistency,” Coach Kelly said. “For the better players, they not only possess some good fundamentals and some repeatable muscle memory, but also an understanding of how to get things done which accelerates their confidence and gives them a further edge on competitors.”