Troy golf coach Sarah Howell is looking to send girls back to state this year – though the challenge will be getting her relatively young team ready to take on such a obstacle. That said, there are nine returning players, and Howell said the Lady Trojans are going to be competitive out on the green.
“A lot of the girls played in tournaments over the summer, which is very nice because that teaches them how to handle themselves,” Howell said. “They’re feeling confident coming into the season.”
Last season, the team was “very young,” Howell said.
It was a bit of a rebuilding year, as the team was awash with freshmen players.
Even with a green team, Howell said the Lady Trojans played very well, starting in the bottom of rankings at the beginning of the season, and fighting up to the top three by the end.
“We were very young, so learning course management was kind of our goal,” Howell said. “When it’s not going well, don’t give up. And so I was really proud of the way the girls handled themselves on the golf course by the end of the season.”
Now the Lady Trojans are sophomore-heavy, and Howell said she’s perfectly fine with that.
“I’m excited, I think we’re going to be really competitive this year, and in two more years, I think it’s going to be crazy,” Howell said.
The district that Troy competes in is one of the most competitive, she said, with big names from Jefferson City and Columbia in the running, “and they are all very competitive.”
“When we play 18 holes, you’ve got to break 90 to compete with them,” Howell said. This means the girls have to play bogey golf or lose, but Howell said this year she expects a lot of breakthroughs.
“Just the first day yesterday, you can tell that they’ve been practicing,” Howell said.
The team was on a run for a while where one or two golfers went to state every year, and the season was the first in a while where that didn’t happen.
Bringing that winning tradition back after the rebuilding year last season is a goal, she said.
Returning sophomore Julia Boessen said there is going to be a lot of improvement this year, and the wave of new players coming in will give hope for future years as well.
“But I believe that this year we all should be getting better and that we will be taking strokes off our game,” Boessen said. “Our whole team should be better.”
Boessen was one of the girls that played in a tourney and practiced over the summer to work on her game.
She said in her putting, she is fighting the tendency to rush, and said last year she struggled to hit peak power in her strokes.
“So this year I focused a lot on going to workouts and getting lessons, and so I got a lot stronger with all my clubs,” Boessen said.
Fighting mental fatigue is just as important as polishing the physical parts of the game; Boessen said that nine holes are easy to power through, but when you hit 18, it becomes an endurance test, both physically and psychologically.
“Going into 18 holes, there’s a lot of room for mistakes, and those can go to your head really easily,” Boessen said. “I will usually just tell myself ‘shake it off, the next hole is another time to get back, and back to where I need to be.’”