Girls golf team planted seeds for future success
It had been a few years since the Canby Cougars girl's golf team was able to post a team score after a competition. Low numbers kept the Cougars from fielding a complete varsity roster and thus filling in a full scorecard. But after the 2017-2018 season, the team was able to pull through and consistently field varsity athletes.
The makeup of this year's team was quite young. Led by freshman Hannah Hughes and sophomore Gabby Holmberg, the seven person team had two sophomores and five freshmen to compete against the best of the Three Rivers League. While the team did not graduate any players to the state competition, the enthusiasm for the game increased exponentially as the season progressed. Inversely, the girl's scores dropped as time went on. For coach Terry Bailey, it was a good sign.
"It felt very, very good," Bailey said. "The score we posted wasn't very good, but it wasn't about the score. It was a place to start. A place to see what we can build off of, and then they just improved. To go from 507 to 430 the second day of districts, that's pretty amazing for freshmen (and sophomores)."
Part of the success of the season was getting the team to buy in to the sport of golf. Bailey had to get creative at certain points to get the team to have fun, and was ultimately successful.
"At one point this golf course was closed for a week so we went to the driving range down there, and I said if I saw them work super hard, we'd have ice cream," Bailey said. "They did. They had to be down there for four straight days in a row, and they hit a ton of balls. They didn't chip or putt, but they hit balls and then came back shot their best score of the season at Oregon."
Another reason the team bought in was not letting the pressure of the moment getting them. Knowing that the current season was just the starting point of future success was going to be crucial.
"No one cares what you shoot, all this year is about is a building block to see where we're at and to build on it," Bailey said. "Get the experience. You have to have the experience so that you can go out there and not be nervous on the first tee. You're always going to be a little bit nervous, but go out there and get that experience and get that over with.""Meet girls and see they're in the boat as you," Bailey added. "The league pairs you by scoring average, so you should be playing with girls that are real similar in capabilities. There's nothing to be scared of."
Bailey is already looking to the future, and it seems bright for the Canby girl's golf team. Bailey has a few eighth grade prospects on the horizon, and has heard tell of seniors that want to come out for the team next year. The best case scenario is to have 10 or 15 girls on the squad.
"There would have to be qualifying matches," Bailey said on the potential numbers. "Just because you played last year, there would be a little more rules. I do have rules but I had to toss them out the window because of (athletes late because of) dance. I won't be able to do that next year."