PRC golf getting practice time on the course

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2020

The 2020 season for the Pearl River Central boys golf team started with practice sessions as a team in late January.

Weather has made it hard to get shots in consistently, but the eight athletes who make up the team have been doing what they can to prepare for the start of the season.

The team won’t start taking part in competitions until early March, but golf is a game of repetition.

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As more time is spent on the course the athletes will become more comfortable playing the sport.

Prior to each tournament Head Coach Austin Darden will have his athletes go through a qualifier to determine who goes to a major tournament.

Darden will pick the top five golfers and those athletes will be the ones representing PRC at that particular major.

This means the group of athletes going to each tournament could change depending on who shoots the best in the qualifier.

“You don’t know what kind of game you’re going to have when you wake up. If the kids do have a bad qualifying (game) they have a chance to go to another tournament,” Darden said.

Once at the competition, the score is tallied up from the top four performances of the five athletes.

If one golfer has a particularly bad score, the other athletes can make up for it.

Near the end of the season will be a district tournament for the Blue Devils.

If the team shoots a score less than 365, then the players will move on to the state tournament.

However, in the case of the team not making that mark, any golfer who individually shot under 80 can move on to the state tournament individually.

Darden said his team is young and somewhat inexperienced.

Darden has been able to spend more time with his athletes this season in order to educate the them on the sport of golf, after having prior commitments last year that cut into his availability.

“The emphasis this year, with a lot of young guys, is to have them learn golf etiquette and golf basics. It’s hard to play golf if you don’t understand game,” Darden said.

Darden said his newer players have been spending extra time at the course outside of practice to get better.

In a game as detail oriented as golf, only spending an hour and a half a couple days a week practicing won’t cut it.

Working on not only range shots, but also putting and chipping now can pay off when competition starts.

“They’re putting in extra work and extra time, which is what it takes in golf. It’s very promising to see what happens,” Darden said.

Darden has lofty expectations for his young team this year.

Among the team’s goals is to place in the top three of a tournament, win a tournament and make it to state.

Darden said it’ll be a tough road, but anybody can be beaten.

In a couple weeks the squad will truly find out what it’s made of during the team’s first major tournament set for the second week of March.