All athletes must prepare and practice during the off-season in order to be successful. Pitchers are throwing for hours to get ready during spring training. Marathon runners consistently increase the length of their runs to build endurance and decrease times. Similarly, golfers repeatedly hit at the range to refine their swing or short game. Whether golfers choose a large or small bag of balls, just consistently hitting will prepare them to be better golfers during the season. Moreover, when a golfer practices at the range, they should treat each shot as a shot on the course. For each shot, they need to complete the pre-shot routine so their muscles will automatically remember the procedure during a match. Also, the golfer should pick a target, such as a flag or another ball on the range. By selecting a target the golfer is able to appreciate the relationship between swing and distance.
Not only is the off-season a time to practice one’s swing, but it is also a time for golfers to recharge their minds and bodies from the physical and mental strains of competition. For the Bishop Luers Girls’ Golf Team, the season approaches swiftly as the summer dwindles, making preparation during the off-season key.
“It is important to practice because if none of us worked on our swings on our own time, we wouldn’t get any better, individually or as a team,” Senior Lexie Hammel explained. For the 2010 girls’ golf season, practice starts July 30 while the first tournament begins three days later on August 2.
During the off-season, most of the Bishop Luers Girls’ Golf Team participates in summer tournaments as well. All four returning varsity players: Alexis Baker, Alex Eagleson, Lexie Hamel, and Amanda Vankoski as well as JV players have competed in the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Junior Golf Program. The events allow golfers in the same age bracket to play against each other in competitive tournaments at local golf courses like Chestnut Hills and Colonial Oaks for a fraction of the cost. Indeed, all of the Bishop Luers Girls’ Golf Team, both Varsity and JV, will participate in Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Junior Golf Program tournament at their home course, Brookwood Golf Club, on July 29th, the day before their first practice.
In addition to those tournaments, Luers’ varsity players have competed in some Mountain Dew tournaments. These tournaments have a higher competition level than the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation tournaments as they draw participants from the entire state. These tournaments help the girls to not only elevate mental endurance levels against tougher competition but also identify focus areas for improvement.
Every player on the Bishop Luers Girls’ golf team has goals for this coming year. They range from achieving a new low score, making sectionals or having a positive attitude even when stuck behind irritating trees. The girls are working hard to prepare during the preseason, again and again hitting bags of balls at the range, making every shot count. The most important shot in golf can be the next one, either on the course or on the range.