Golf uses influx of new members to develop competition within the team

After several seasons of relatively low enrollment, the PHS golf team has seen a significant increase in members. According to upperclassmen players, the 2015 team is made up of a mix of inexperienced players as well as veterans who bring friendly competition and motivate golfers to play smart on the course.

Andrew Huang ʼ16 believes that the expansion of interest can be largely attributed to the recreational yet technique-based nature of golf. “I feel like golf is a skill sport. There’s some physical activity required, but in the long run, there’s a lot of technique behind it. It could be recreational too,” Huang said.

Kelly Qiu ʼ17 attributes the abundance of freshmen recruits to the enjoyment people find in the sport. In practice, she has observed that many athletes enjoy the relaxing tempo and atmosphere around the golf course.

“I think [many] freshmen may be coming in because their friends are. If they get more into it … they [will] start taking it more seriously,” Qiu said. “I think golf [can be] a recreational sport because you’re playing along other people … [and] while you are playing, you’re talking to them and just having a good time.”

Kelly Qiu ’17 practices on a day off, April 18, at Princeton Country Club.  photo: Nathan Drezner

Kelly Qiu ’17 practices on a day off, April 18, at Princeton Country Club.
photo: Nathan Drezner

However, despite the relaxing atmosphere of the game, the influx of members will bring competition to the team, as the limited number of spots at matches motivates players to continuously better themselves.

“I think the younger kids push the older kids … they bring a competitive edge to the team,” said Captain Maxwell Tarter ʼ15. “I think [the increased enrollment] will make … everyone smarter.”

For Tarter, playing smart means taking the most accurate swing, not the most powerful or flashy one.

Max Rodewald ʼ15 also noted that the competition has stimulated him to play a more composed round of golf. “[I try to] play the most reasonable shot, settle for it, [and] commit to it,” Rodewald said.

An increased amount of competition on the course has translated into success in matches. The team defeated Steinert High School to improve its record to 1–1.

Presented with the incentive to compete, players have learned to stay collected when competing against opponents.

“Going on the course itself with friendly competition has a pressure. But when you learn to control it … the process will be better,” Huang said. “The hardest putt is the one [in] your head, which is saying that mentality gets in the way of [executing].”

Head Coach Sheryl Severance thinks that players get to experience substantial self-improvement but also work on unity when playing against opponents.

“In golf, there [are] two competitions going on: there’s a competition with yourself, and there’s a competition with [the opponent],” Severance said. “The third [aspect] is the team coming together and everybody stepping up and doing their jobs so we can beat the other team … We want to play smart, and [make sure] that [every] shot is the best shot.”

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