This year, the Monmouth Academy golf team has made substantial gains. This fall marks only the second season that this group has been considered a varsity team. The Mustangs have gained four new players this season: seniors Jess Gray and Myles Butler, and two sophomores, Ben Robichau and Joe Hopkins. Five previous players, Josh Parsons, Jason Diamond, Dana Ingalls, Laura Manduca, and Paul Mason joined these four newcomers. This small varsity team managed two wins against Georges Valley and one win against the number one ranked team, Hall Dale. These accomplishments gave the team an overall record of three to seven at the end of the 2004 season.

At the head of the pack were two great coaches. Both new to the team, Mike Retelle and golf professional, Gary Smith, started this weak team on to a new practice regimen. The three-part practice schedule worked on all aspects of golf including driving, pitching, putting, match play rules, and etiquette. After perfecting swings on the driving range, it was off to the practice green where we continued to dub shots and dig divots until Gary came out to whip us into shape. Gary worked with us through the putter throws, and numerous inappropriate words to perfect our chipping and putting skills, laughing off our frustration with a simple chuckle.

Mike Retelle took it upon himself to try to teach us the rules of match play and simple etiquette. Unfortunately, there were few rules we could soak up without forgetting another. This made a dirty job for Mr. Retelle, but someone had to do it. But, I think we will all remember that it is a stroke penalty when you hit a ball out of bounds and that you should always say “fore” when you hit a ball at someone, even if he is on your team. These two men redefined Monmouth golf from a team of unfit hackers to a group of respectable individuals in just one short season.

The Monmouth Academy golf team started practicing in early August at Cobbossee Colony Golf Course. Cobbossee is a small nine-hole course located on the outskirts of Monmouth. The course incorporates simple fairway shots with challenging chips and putts to create a pleasurable golfing experience. Here, the nine players sharpened their golfing skills. They learned to hit from the wood, under trees, around rocks, and out of sand bunkers under close watch of their coaches. The team used their knowledge of the course’s small greens, thick fairways, and the enormous trees to their advantage during the matches held there. All of this rigorous practicing could not have taken place without the kind support from the workers and management of Cobbossee Colony. These fine people kept us in business by keeping the course in great shape and feeding us a countless number of hot dogs and Junior Mints.

Next year the team will be losing five seniors. The underclassmen will strive to become equally great role models for the incoming freshmen, and teach them the many golf skills that have been passed on by their predecessors. As the sport becomes more competitive, these students hope to improve in this lifetime sport.

Golf is a very unpopular sport to many teens. Many laugh at the idea of chasing a little ball around a field and trying to get it in the hole. It appears to be a pointless waste of time and money. Yet, after you have played a round of golf, it grows on you like a pimple on your forehead, An urge to perform better forms and never leaves until you have conquered it. Golf combines physical movement into a chess like game in a large pasture. You must carefully plan every move and action you make in an effort to lower your score and beat your opponent.

Compared to other popular high school sports, golf is very similar. You practice as a team, lose as a team, and dress as a team. Skill, knowledge, and perseverance need to be practiced on a regular basis and there are coaches and supervisors always there to help you along the way. Golf is ostracized by many people just because of their lack of knowledge of the sport. Many judge golf before they learn how much skill is needed to play. Therefore, I encourage you to take a new perspective on golf, as it becomes more popular in our schools and in our lives.

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