For most teams, the winning game always starts and ends in a competition for ‘mosts’: the most baskets, goals, touchdowns, yards, and points. Yet, for the Timber Creek Golf team, athletes strive for the least number of points, or even negative points, hoping to find success throughout the fall season, and further into spring.
With only five tournaments left this fall and three more in the spring, the athletes work each day on their short game and chipping, putting, and an emphasis on their shots into the greens. As all their tournaments have been invitationals so far this season, the team has been gaining experience and learning how to play in high pressure situations, preparing in advance for their two day districts in the spring.
“Our goal is always to win a district tournament and win a state title,” said Coach Russell Fuqua. “We haven’t done that yet. Our girls got second last year as a team and advanced to the regional tournament, and in the past we’ve had medalist qualifiers. We have some growing to do. The strength is that they’re aggressive, they’re not afraid to do things, but in building that experience sometimes they make mistakes because of lack of experience and knowing how to prepare and get ready for the tournaments.”
With some of the youngest student-athletes that the team has ever seen, the team lost five previous senior boys and three previous senior girls after last season, replacing them with incoming freshmen. Structured as a rebuilding year for the players, the coaches have also moved several boys up to varsity that were previously on junior varsity.
“We’ve had a little bit more experience the last few years,” said Fuqua. “There’s some fluctuation, and that gives the players a chance. It always gives them that opportunity to continue to improve, and then make that varsity team. We’ve got 14 boys and six girls. We’ve placed them in tournaments based on previous tournament play, so the [players] who are based on a handicap system we have play on a varsity level…they’re always competing to stay on the varsity team that way.”
Hoping to win districts and advance to regions and onward, the team has focused on how they work on their preparation from the very beginning, working on course management each tournament, and overall maintaining that same practice each training day. Trying to implement a game plan for each athlete, the team recently played in two-day tournament in Abilene, facing new challenges for the players.
“We don’t [usually] drive that far and then get out and play, so one of the reasons we played that tournament was so that we could experience that. They hadn’t seen that golf course before and we’re going to hold our district tournament [there]. For tournaments, we go and look at the course online ahead of time, or some of the golfers go and play that course if the [it] is local…[so], we can plan different shots and which clubs that we want to use for each hole. We have to improve some to give ourselves a chance, but by the time the spring comes we should be in the mix with everyone else.”