Golf swings into 2015 season with new female coach

Jason Fieber

The girls’ golf team begins the 2015 season with an optimistic outlook following last fall’s postseason run.

The varsity team finished second last year in MCALs and qualified for a spot in the NCS playoffs.

Their season is already off to a strong start, with a record of 9-1 thus far, as well as a victory over Tam, another one of last season’s NCS qualifiers, by a score of  212 – 229.

Photo by Jason Feiber

Junior Julia Waddington tees off during a tri-match victory over Novato and Terra Linda

First year head coach Kelly Smith has set her eyes on a repeat of last season’s success, as she hopes to see her team play competitively at both the MCAL and NCS levels.

“Their play will need to improve––they know that and they will admit that,” Smith said.

Smith, a Richmond golf instructor, stepped in this year in hopes of helping carry the team to another postseason run. Her background as a golfer has helped make this transition smoother.

“One benefit I have is that I have a lot of golf knowledge,” she said. “I have been there. I have played high school golf. I have taught a lot of junior golfers in my career.”

Smith said this aspect of her field also helped her relationship with the team.

“My goal is always to make them better,” Smith said. “I spend about four days a week with most of them for a couple hours a day. I know their personalities.”

Audrey Genest, a senior who is entering her third year on the team, said she expects the team to play as well if not better than last year despite losing top players from last year.

Genest additionally stressed the differences that come with having a female coach.

“It is different having a female coach on an all-female team,” Genest said. “It brings the team together a lot more.”

There has been no issue with chemistry among teammates, according to Smith.

“I think the camaraderie of the team is really good,” Smith said. “The experienced golfers are helping the younger golfers because they, at one point, were that younger golfer,”

The team received an influx of players this year, many of whom have little previous golf experience. Smith hopes to quickly integrate these players into the team.

“That is how every team starts, by having girls on their team who have never picked up a golf ball before,” Smith said.

She hopes that this will happen especially through work in the offseason.

“That is where they will become a better player and be more helpful for the team next year,” she said.

Despite a new crop of players with minimal golf background, Smith still views the team’s experience as their main strength. However, with that, she says, comes one potential weakness.

“We might expect more or not play to our best ability during some of these matches,” she said.

According to Smith, the players need to just keep working and to know that by getting better as a team the players will get better individually.

Genest, on the other hand, saw the team’s dedication as their main strength. She said the team devotes time to practice during the weekend and the offseason because that is where the players will develop individually.

With their eyes set on a playoff run, the varsity team must first look to their biggest upcoming matches.

Smith said that she sees a match against traditional powerhouse Justin-Siena as one of the most important matches of the year. She also foresees a competitive match against Tam despite their early victory.