Local golfers were relishing in chipping and putting all throughout the summer ahead of their first high school meet of the year.
Chanute High School’s Lady Blue Comets practiced their short game at Stone Creek Golf Course through June in the summer. In the same month, a few golfers even participated in junior golf in Chanute, traveling to places such as Oswego and Pittsburg. With much repetition each passing day — golfers for the most part were given the month of July off — Chanute’s golfers putted their way right into the first day of practice on Monday, just in time for their first official golf meet of the year: 3 pm Sept. 3 in Oswego. Three weeks later, the team will gear up for its first home meet of the season at 10 am on Sept. 23 at Stone Creek Golf Course — the only home varsity tournament of the year.
Although Monday was technically the first day of practice for the CHS girls bunch — practice will continue on throughout the week — first-year Lady Blue Comets coach Trevor Ewert had to get some logistics out of the way first.
“The schedule has kind of been thrown off a little bit; we had to take care of some incidentals — some requirement. We have to let the kids watch some videos on concussions to just kind of be aware of the issues that can arise from physical activity,” Ewert said.
The first day of practice then segued from videos to a lesson on the rules of golf. On Tuesday, the team took pictures.
But looking a good game isn’t the golf team’s focus.
Throughout the summer, generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays, golfers were perfecting their putting and chipping, and Ewert knows working on these skills will be advantageous in future meets.
“That seems to be, for a lot of golfers, where you can shave the most strokes off your score if you get more practice and work in there with your short game,” Ewert continued. “That’s really what we focused on for the most part.”
With the focal point on putting and chipping, the group still found time to work on straightening out irons and drivers.
Working on important aspects of golf is a step towards doing a little bit better from previous years’ attempts. Last year, the Lady Blue Comets placed third in State with an overall score of a 381, and while for the most part golfers are trying to augment their talents, a few have stood out among the pack in that process.
Team members Jerlyn Kustanborter and Lia Gutierrez, upperclassmen returners with huge impacts in the 2018 season, were two golfers who stood out, Ewert said. Last season, Kustanborter had six top-five finishes — in League she was third and in State placed 13th, just two strokes from the top 10 — to culminate 2018, while Gutierrez ended the year with two top-10 finishes, including 10th in League play and 30th in State.
For Ewert, who has been an assistant coach for the boys golf team the past six years, the Neodesha native has experienced what it takes to continue excellence through the season and before the last meet of 2019.
“Just consistency, staying consistent with swings and posture and things like that, especially as you further into a round of golf, a lot of times you start to get a little tired and some of the mental sharpness and the posture start to go a little bit,” Ewert said. “So just maintaining that consistency through the round and kind of just chugging away, carrying on with what we have been practicing.”
Golfers will continue practicing in the afternoons through the week in preparation for their first meets in September.