Golf team trying to prepare for season with inside work
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The varsity boys golf team from Grayling High School is low on overall numbers and somewhat lacking in varsity experience, but the weather is perhaps the squad’s most pressing concern. As of late last week, the Vikings had not been able to practice outside, and indoor practices for the team have been really limited.
“It’s been rough, man,” Coach Brad Duncan said.
The program has been working on chipping and doing some limited tee work by driving into a net. Coach Duncan said the program does not have anything available to accurately simulate a real putting green, so the Vikings are not practicing their putts until they get on a course.
“No putting practice till we get outdoors. We’ve been chipping, hit all our clubs into the net. We’ve been working on our grip and one-at-a-time range balling it,” Coach Duncan said. “Not a whole lot else you can do inside.”
Coach Duncan said practices have been going okay so far.
“They’ve been enjoying it for the most part, having fun at least. Hard to ask much more,” Coach Duncan said.
As of last Thursday, the squad had six players on the roster. Four of the six played golf last year, so the team does have some high school golf experience, but the group includes only one senior.
The squad: Brady Bickford, David Walsh, Gage Davis, Zach Duncan, Tyler Brandt, and Brayden Whitley. Bickford is the team’s only senior.
“I have a feeling David is going to have a breakout season. I’m excited to see him push Brady a little bit,” Coach Duncan said.
Coach Duncan said he wants the players to focus more on the short game and less on trying to hit long drives.
“They’re going to have to learn to hit the drivers shorter, work on putting,” Coach Duncan said. “Short game is where we win golf. We’re gonna work real hard on chipping, putting, course management. We’re going to focus a lot on that this year. Play smart, not try to win out of the tee box.”
“Other than that, have a good time, be respectful, learn something,” Coach Duncan said. “Long term goal is to be state champs.”
Duncan is in his first season as coach of the program. Duncan, who also coaches youth wrestling and was an assistant for the Grayling High School varsity wrestling team this past season, said he’s coached a lot of sports and played a lot of sports; golf is his favorite.
“I’ve played all my life, family plays. Golf’s awesome,” Coach Duncan said.
Duncan said it was a bit of an adjustment going to the first day of golf practice one day after coaching in the youth wrestling state finals.
“I was still pretty amped up,” Coach Duncan said.
He said he’s enjoying the opportunity.
“I think I will enjoy being the golf coach for several years,” Coach Duncan said. “I’m excited. When we get outside, I’ll be much more excited.”
The team’s first scheduled meet of the year – Wednesday, April 18, at Elk Rapids – was cancelled due to weather. It is uncertain when the squad will play in its season opener because other cancellations are likely this week due to course conditions.