Laying Off the Cuts: Girls Golf 2016

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Emily Cooper

A Titleist golf ball rockets into the side of the sand trap and shamefully rolls back to where it started. Sophomore Emily Fey is disappointed with her shot, but she lines up her body over the ball, inhales and swings again. Again. And again. And again. 

It took Fey five shots to free her ball from the sand trap, but only one shot to sink her putt. Fey knew that these ups and downs on the golf course aren’t unheard of, but with such a large day, her mistake may cost her a tournament spot for the upcoming week.

With 19 players, the girls golf team this year was the largest team ever assembled at East. As it was head coach Ermanno Ritschl’s last year of coaching, he decided to allow every girl that tried out to become a part of the program.  

“The last five people [ranked at tryouts] were within one or two shots difference,” Ritschl said. “I decided to keep them all.” 

Allowing so many girls to be apart of the girls golf team increased competition throughout the two teams by setting up the players to go against each other. The players’ own teammates became their toughest competitors. 

Varsity tournaments allowed six players to compete and most JV tournaments allow five players. The varsity team, comprised of returning state winners, seldom changed this year, leaving the 13 other girls to fight for the only five spots on JV.

“There’s such a wide range of ability on the team that competition is higher everywhere on the ladder,” Ritschl said. “The girls need to focus and perform for tournament spots.”

The tournament spots were determined by the player’s individual scores from practice the week before. This made the girls constantly push themselves to succeed during practice with the hopes of seeing their name on the email for the next upcoming tournament that is sent the following week. 

“With limited spots, competition has increased, so posting good practice scores proves that you can play well,” senior Jessica Parker said. “But outside of scores, [Ritschl] wants to see you giving all of your effort and focus, that plays a huge role.”

Some players agreed with Ritschl and supported the no-cut tryouts. These players thought that cutting the girls would lower their self-confidence and make them no longer interested in the sport. 

“If girls were cut, that could make them say ‘I don’t ever want to play golf again,’” senior Rebecca Sheridan said. “I think it’s better [that no cuts were made] so they can work for the spots.” 

The team had the ability to practice at different country clubs every day, but most country clubs couldn’t produce enough tee times to accommodate the large team. While the top 12 players were always guaranteed practice times, that left at least three or more of the bottom players without practice, making it harder for them to improve their skills. 

“It does frustrate me just a little that he didn’t cut people,” Fey said. “I mean trust me, sometimes it’s nice to have a night without golf practice, but other days it would help to have that extra practice.” 

That one extra practice could improve Fey’s shots. That small amount of extra time could greatly impact her scores. So once again, Fey would line her body up over the ball, inhale and swing, but this time the ball would soar. Again. And again. And again.