Some prefer prep golf to become a fall sport
Face it: It's been a really lousy spring. There's a move under foot to move Minnesota high school golf from spring to fall.
Golf is supposed to be an enjoyable, enduring endeavor for high school athletes.
This year so far, the spring season on the links has been memorable for the wrong reasons.
“When it’s cold and windy, it really stinks,” said Murray County Central standout senior Ciera Tutt. “It’s really hard to hit the ball straight, and your hands get so cold. I’ve had to wear three layers at times this spring, and it’s hard to have a consistent swing with so many clothes.
“It’s really been miserable sometimes.”
There’s no need to remind anyone that April was more like an extension of March, what with wet conditions, below-average temperatures and persistent winds. In fact, a group of high school golf coaches have had enough. A recent story published on the bringmethenews.com website detailed a petition started by Blake School golf coach Michael Hinton that calls for the Minnesota State High School League to designate golf a fall sport.
“What other sport has a month where you can’t play, or play your ‘first’ match at a halfway season conference tournament? None,” Hinton wrote in the petition. “Would football ever start their season with a conference championship? Never. This is so ridiculous. It’s a total slap in the face to our game and our kids.”
As of early this week, nearly 1,300 people had signed the petition. But there could be problems with switching seasons.
“Then you’d run into trouble with other sports; I played volleyball in the fall,” said Tutt, who plans to join the golf team at Minnesota West in August.
Moving forward she plans to concentrate on golf.
“Going on to college, golf will be in the fall and that’s going to be helpful because I’ll be more prepared,” she said. “Because all summer you can be on the golf course.”
Worthington High boys golf coach Paul Barduson sees both sides of the argument.
“I don’t think it would be a bad idea (to play fall golf), as it would allow the players a true complete season,” Barduson said. “A negative is now you could compete with new sports.”
Barduson finds pluses and minuses with the sport no matter the season.
In the spring, he notes, courses are more available for playing and practicing, and the season ends in conjunction with the end of the school year.
But of course the weather, especially in April as is familiar to us all, might not be conducive to golf.
In the fall, Barduson also notes, courses are in pristine condition and players would be in better form coming out of the summer.
But falling leaves, diminishing daylight and busier courses could be problematic.
Tutt is one of the top female golfers in the Red Rock Conference, which is planning its conference meet May 17 in Worthington. Sub-section and sectional meets follow the next two weeks.
The MCC golf teams practiced in the school’s small wrestling room when workouts began in March. The wet, windy weather in April prevented much time outside.
Worthington’s teams haven’t been outside for many meets so far this spring, either. And our May weather isn’t exactly off to a promising start.
So what’s a golf athlete or fan to do?
“Just be patient,” said Tutt with a smile. “That’s about all we can do.”