Golfers battle highs, lows as season gets underway



JASPER — The clubs were swinging and the balls were flying as girls golf teams from Jasper, Forest Park, Heritage Hills and Springs Valley were out in action Monday evening working their way through a nine-hole match at Buffalo Trace Golf Course.

The Wildcats took home the win with a total team score of 185. Springs Valley finished second with a 199, Forest Park finished third with a 240 and Heritage Hills was fourth with a 258.

Jasper was led by senior Haley Schroeder, their No. 1 golfer. She said the start of the match was a bit rough, but after warming up she felt better about how she played the last few holes toward the end of the match.

“My drives weren’t working the best,” Schroeder said. “But I seemed to fix it around the fourth hole, so it got better towards the middle (of the match).”

Schroeder, who finished with a score of 42, said the midrange game with her irons worked wonders for her.

She shot a bit higher than her intended goal, but it’s still early in the golf season and she and the rest of the team can still mine different lessons from the match to help them get just a bit better the next time they take to the golf course.

“Even if you have a bad stroke, you need to move on from it,” she said. “Don’t take anything too hard. It’s all mental and it gets to you sometimes. But I’ve started to learn to go with the flow and don’t let a shot get to me too much.”

Forest Park recorded a score of 240 to place third. As coach Pat Shuler acknowledged it was a rough match for his girls, most of whom have never played golf before this season.

But he sees them getting better, and he thinks that continued match experience and playing against other, better players will serve them well as the season moves forward.

“Playing with other girls is important, because they find that there’s different levels of players ,” Schuler said. “They learn from them and that’s really good for them.”

Senior Audrey Jones, the Rangers’ No. 1, finished with a 58. She said it wasn’t one of her better days, but not every run on the golf course is going to be pretty.

“I just want to stay positive,” she said. “I notice when I have a positive mindset it helps me be strong and hit good shots. But when I get down on myself it ruins my whole game.”

Heritage Hills finished the evening with a score of 258. The Patriots are in a similar position to Forest Park, as coach Dave Jochim has the challenge of breaking in a team that is, for all intents and purposes, new to golf.

Jochim is working to get the girls more consistent with the touch and feel of their strokes, but they all have good attitudes about the game and getting better, which only helps their cause.

“They have habits where they want to swing it like a baseball bat, cutting across their body,” Jochim said. “But then when they do everything right, they say, ‘Wow, that was good.’”

Junior Jayden Reyes finished with a 66 for the evening. It wasn’t exactly what she was hoping for, but she feels that she is improving in her game.

“The greens gave me a little bit of a fit today,” she said. “A couple of my drives were really good, so that made me happy.”

For most of the teams, there was a lot to like and a lot to be desired after the match wrapped up at Buffalo Trace. But Jasper coach Jan Tellstrom says it’s all a part of the game.

“People only hit two kinds of shots — good ones and bad ones,” Tellstrom said. “You can win a golf tournament hitting bad golf shots. You’ll weave a few good ones in there, but really it’s about missing it better than you’ve ever missed it before.”

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