Husky golf season underway, team posting good scoresSep 27, 2021 12:10PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Hillcrest High golf coach Dave Richardson may be in a tough position.
His team of 15 talented players are athletes, meaning many of them play other high school sports —mostly baseball and soccer, summertime sports. And this season, in a new region, 5A region 7, half of the high school’s tournaments are in the summer, before school starts.
“I called a practice for tomorrow at 1 o’clock, but seven guys play soccer in these super leagues and they’re going to be gone…leaving tonight to go to a soccer tournament,” he said in early August. “So that’s hard.”
Even so, the team, which counts the lowest four members’ scores, recorded under 400 in their opening tournaments.
“As a team last year, we didn’t do that at all, so, the scores are better,” Richardson said, adding he hopes to see more improvement as the season progresses.
At Tooele’s tournament held at Oquirrh Hills Golf Course, senior Braden Rosenhan appreciated the “old school” style on the front nine—with holes closer together, trees dotting the course and a windy course versus the back nine which was much more open and had longer fairways.
Even with a course Rosenhan liked, he didn’t hit as well as he hoped.
“It was one of my higher or worse rounds; I don’t know that day—golf is so weird like that,” Rosenhan said. “It’s just one sport that day after day, hour after hour, you just keep going or else it’s going just start going downhill for you. You just keep playing. You can hate it and love it in a matter of like three seconds. I like the mental side. That’s why I like golf so much as I like having to think about stuff instead of just like running and being tough. I’d rather be methodical.”
The team captain also can identify with other teammates who might not have a good game.
“I’ll text some of the younger ones individually if they had a bad golf day. I told them that golf sucks and it’s weird because your swing is rarely, rarely the same unless you’re a robot and none of us are robots,” he said.
Rosenhan played better at the tournament at Stansbury Park Golf Course, adding that the team improved as well.
“We’re getting better and better as the golf season goes on,” Rosenhan said. “At the driving range, we hit some balls and (coach Richardson) will go around and help out. And then some other older kids and me, we’ll go and try to help the younger ones with their swings, and we’ll do some chipping and putting.”
Rosenhan began playing golf when he was three or four, first using plastic clubs, being coached by his dad. He also picked up a bat and glove at age three and has been a devoted baseball player since then as well. He plays pitcher as well as first and third bases for the Huskies.
“I have more talent in golf, but I’m better at baseball. All my life, even since I’ve been young, I just put more work into baseball,” he said, adding that he is continuing to play for a scout team, hoping to play baseball in college and possibly walk onto the golf team there as well. “I never really put much work into golf until high school came around. (Golf is) kind of like a fun, little release from everything. It’s nice to go hit some golf balls and get all the stress out of my life, just relax for a few hours.”
However, gearing up for this season, he had a few weeks where he’s golfed daily. “It costs a lot of money, but it’s really fun,” he said. Since July, Rosenhan and other team members have picked up range balls for a couple hours every Monday in trade for a round of golf at River Oaks course, their home course.
In fact, the team will host a tournament at River Oaks, Sept. 8—the second to last tournament of the season. Cedar Valley’s tournament in Eagle Mountain will round out the season on Sept. 13. Region date has yet to be announced and state is in early October.
Rosenhan hopes the team will improve to have a chance to play at state as all, but only one player graduated. He missed qualifying individually last year by three strokes.
“Our last region, we had Skyline and all those kids who are basically on the PGA tour, so we really didn’t have much of a chance. This year, I think third place is kind of where we will sit,” he said. “We have a lot of kids with a lot of potential on the team, which is really nice to see. (With this region), I’m like shooting about the same as all the other No. 1’s (instead of like the previous region’s No. 5 players), and everybody’s on even levels, so they actually feel like they can compete. It gives them confidence and I think they’ll realize that they’re pretty good at golf.”
Each region sends the top two teams to state and after that, it’s an average of the lowest scores.
Players also can qualify, individually if they are in the top 12 finishers in the region, so even if the team doesn’t meet the mark, Richardson hopes that some of his players will, such as Rosenhan and junior CJ Poulson. He also hopes to see strong play from junior Cole Wardle and sophomores Camden Lampshire, Matthew Miller and Jeb Thomas as the season progresses.