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Swinging for recognition

Girls golf strives to make people understand that the sport is more than just hitting a ball into a hole

With most sports, there’s a certain intensity that tends to draw people in. The way a football player runs with the ball tucked underneath his arm as the opposing team closes in or how the cracking sound of a bat after it makes contact with the baseball signals the player to run as fast as he can to first base causes crowds to go wild. Then, there are other sports that don’t focus much on action. When a player must concentrate on getting a ball the size of an egg into a similarly small hole sometimes as much as 500 yards away, it’s not be an easy task. And yet, that’s not what everyone believes when watching a game of golf.
Heather Dougherty, a sophomore, once thought that way too. When she first joined the golf team, she didn’t believe it would be too hard. By the end of the season, she knew what a golfer deals with underneath the surface. The intensity of golf was no game.
“When people watch golf they’re like, ‘That’s easy, you just gotta hit it,’ but it’s more than that,” Dougherty said. “It’s all the technique and the way you hit it also.”
To Sarah Mendoza, a senior, golf can be easy or hard depending on how a player adapts to the physical and mental challenges. Mendoza remembers struggling at the beginning of the season with getting used to a certain club or having the right grip before slowly fixing it. The sport’s level of difficulty went back and forth depending on the kind troubles she faced while on the course.
“Just like anyone else, sometimes I had my days when I wasn’t in the mood to play and that would mess me up and then there were those really good shots that would make me forget about the other bad ones.”
Golf isn’t a very strenuous sport to Mendoza after learning to deal with recurring mistakes though. Rather than letting one bad shot bring her down, she would focus on making the next one better by fixing whatever messed her up the first time and improve this way.
“Personally I don’t think it’s that hard, but to others, it can be and it can be easy to get discouraged if you’re doing bad.”
The sport isn’t all mental game, however. Jessica Kunz, a freshman, says golf is underrated physically as well. Swinging a metal or wooden club at a fast enough speed to make it go anywhere over 100 yards involves more strength and accuracy than what one may think.
She says that physcial game is required more than mental game out on the course. Making sure that your hands are in the right position, adjusting your grip to the type of swing you want to do, and keeping a good posture are some key factors that Kunz pays attention to during a game.
“With the wrong posture you could possibly pull something and hurt yourself.”
Kunz also dislikes hearing stereotypes that people make about golf. People have told her that players don’t have to move around too much, it’s simple because there isn’t that many rules, and that it’s a masculine sport. She disagrees with those statements, saying that golfers have to walk miles on courses, learn many complex rules to avoid penalties, and that there are plenty good female players.
“When people think of golf they automatically associate it with elderly men,” Kunz said. “They say it’s easy and doesn’t require much exercise.”
Despite what others may say against the sport, Kunz enjoys playing golf and wants more people to understand it in the future.
“I think the game is really fun but you have to learn to play before you say it’s easy.”

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