SPFHS golfers drive for further success

SPFHS golfers drive for further success

Jordan Katz

As the winter sports season for Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School reaches its conclusion, spring sports tryout announcements are starting to make an appearance. Alongside sports such as baseball and softball, golf makes its first and only appearance of the school year during the spring when the weather clears up from winter months.
The team has experienced extraordinary amounts of success in recent years. Just last year during the course of the 2018-2019 season, coach Ryan Goracy led the team to first place at the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Tournament for the first time since 2007. In the preceding year, the team won sectionals for the first time since 2013.
Last year was beyond incredible; upholding a great record and taking home a county championship alongside a close-knit family was an experience like no other,” senior Jonathan Yu said.
However, the team is poised to require adaptation as two-time individual UCIAC champion Jimmy Bagdonas graduated and will no longer be able to help the team going forward. He had won the title in both the 2017-2018 and the 2018-2019 season. Still, they have the talent necessary in order to make a strong run to maintain their title in the 2019-2020 season.
The season begins in March, with players primarily focused on practice on the golf course in order to prepare for competition and adjust to playing after the offseason. Players also often go to the driving range in order to practice their swing and driving the ball, as the name suggests. 
Due to the unpredictable weather that tends to be an issue during the month, practices also typically take place indoors in the school gymnasium. Time is also spent ensuring that the rules are understood.
Once April hits, competition starts with matches and general competitions between schools becoming more prevalent then and throughout May. Coach Goracy emphasizes not trying to do too much and keeping scores down at all costs rather than taking risks through excessive flashiness.
“There is no need to be a hero out there and try to hit a miracle shot you may have seen a professional hit on television,” Goracy said. “Golf is an individual sport in a team environment and many matches can come down to a single shot. Play smart and minimize the big numbers on your scorecard.”
Despite practice days that are presented to the players during the season, it is still acknowledged on the team that extra time needs to be invested in order to constantly improve their skills. 
There isn’t ever practice on weekends, but it is good to go on your own and practice,” senior Patrick Bourke said.
The departures of seniors such as Bagdonas surely provides challenges as the season continues, yet the team has proved proficient enough in the past to be able to overcome and bring more success to SPFHS.