Boys’ Golf: Chipping into All-Conference Placements


Abigail Evers

Teeing off at the first hole, Benjamin Wallace starts the match against Parkway Central at Four Seasons Country.

Abigail Evers, Staff Writer

With three players earning All-Conference 1st and 2nd team, and two others gaining honorable mentions, Boys’ Golf staged a comeback that allowed the players to get better and the team to place higher throughout the season.

Patrick Clifford earned 1st Team All-Conference and Lukas Cates and Jeff McKinney placed 2nd Team All-Conference.

Thomas Clifford and Brennan Shipman were Honorable Mentions for All-Conference, and Lukas Cates and Brennan Shipman were placed 2nd in the Pattonville Tournament’s Scramble Division.

Unlike other sports, golf players have a much friendlier camaraderie with their competition. For a number of matches, players are paired with students from other schools to keep and compare scores and to make matches more interesting.

“Most of the time, interactions tend to be pretty cordial, and in some cases are actively friendly, as if you’re going to be spending the next couple of hours with people, you’re going to want to avoid actively antagonizing each other,” Thomas Clifford said.

On top of keeping cool with their opponents, the team has to work to keep their own cool as well. “My mentality affects my game because if I have a bad hole and it gets in my head, then I’m probably gonna have another bad hole. Even though playing can help relieve stress, it can cause it as well because if you’re not having a good day or a good round, it can relieve stress if you are having a good round. It’s a mental game as much as it is a physical one,” Patrick Clifford said.

The main difference between golf and other sports is the individuality aspect of the game. Instead of being able to have a standout moment or to have a teammate save your mistakes, golfers can only rely on themselves for their individual performance. Their scores reflect all their successes and failures and then get averaged with their teammates.

For some, the individual nature of the sport is what keeps them focused. “The scores in the tournaments take the scores and medals based on individuals and have a separate division for the team scores, so it’s really an independent sport but there’s a team aspect to it,” sophomore Captain Patrick Clifford explained.

Not every aspect is individualized, however. “It’s also a team sport because matches are decided based on the combination of a team’s score, so matches are won and lost as a team,” senior captain Thomas Clifford said. “In addition, the way that some tournaments are played goes more into the idea of being a team sport, such as a scramble, where teams of two golfers play a round, hitting from the same spot on each shot and choosing the best shot from there.”

Although the team was 6-6, the scores in both matches and tournaments were very close, sometimes resulting in a tie with four to five other players.
The record, however, doesn’t affect the players or the coaches, because a good team and good players cannot always be measured by just that. The honors tell a different story of success.

A good player can be defined in many ways. Golf is a game that is very humbling, and your results don’t always reflect the effort and quality of your play each day. To me, a good player is one that is willing to work hard, identify their weaknesses, and to work to strengthen those weaknesses through range practice and on-course practice.

— Coach Hutson