Girls golfers set to weather storm in spring

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Photo - Pine Creek's Elly Carlson lines up her putt on the ninth green Tuesday, April 5, 2016, during the Lady Lancers Golf Tournament at Pine Creek Golf Club.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Pine Creek's Elly Carlson lines up her putt on the ninth green Tuesday, April 5, 2016, during the Lady Lancers Golf Tournament at Pine Creek Golf Club. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The drama surrounding girls' golf far too often doesn't come from following the leaderboard in Colorado, but staying in tune with the weather forecast.

Moving the sport seemed like a logical choice if you'd asked a golfer waiting out another spring storm inside a clubhouse, yet after more than a year of discussions the state's golf committee has shelved the matter.

"Right now, it's closed," Colorado High School Activities Association associate commissioner Tom Robinson said. "We asked our membership."

Athletic directors and golf coaches across the state voted in favor of keeping the sport in the spring after a survey was sent out by the committee late last year.

Per the report findings of the 284 respondents, only 28.4 percent wanted to play both girls' and boys' golf together in the fall, while 57.1 percent wanted to continue with the current format.

A seasonal switch had been the cry of many associated with girls' golf in Colorado, but ultimately the worries about stretching the need for course availability in the fall and what the shift would do to other girls' athletic programs outweighed the push for a change.

"A lot of schools that have softball, for example, also have those softball girls playing golf in the spring," Robinson said of the sentiment. "If we moved golf to the fall it would disrupt softball or golf, one or the other."

Others still believe staying in place will hurt the girls' game.

Rampart golf coach Brad Keating, who is also a Professional Golfers' Association pro, pointed out that girls hoping to get recruited from Colorado are at a disadvantage to the out-of-state golfers that play their season in the fall.

"We're half a year behind other schools," said Keating, who admitted that his own daughter, Arielle, who tied for 13th at 5A state as a sophomore last year, had some issues in the process.

(Ultimately, she verbally committed to her preferred destination in Florida Atlantic University a week ago).

"(Some) juniors have already played their third season," he added. "So the colleges are getting a great look at them and Colorado is getting overlooked. No one is bothering to come here to recruit unless they have someone specific that they are looking at. . It's a bad problem I think."

Concerns about weather and missing school in the spring -- where many seniors are getting busier with college approaching while some are preparing for Advanced Placement testing in May -are also not going away.

But something of a change still might be coming.

The survey also saw that 57 percent wanted the girls' season to start two weeks later than other spring sports.

The rationale: "The weather would be better," said The Classical Academy coach Bob Gravelle, who was also in favor of keeping the sport in the spring. "And daylight saving would be in effect."

This year, practice began Feb. 27. The state tournament will be held May 22-23.