This year, for the first time in the schools history, Winfield High School will have a girls golf team.
“It’s our very first year going and we are pretty excited about it. We’ve got six young ladies who are super enthusiastic and ready to go,” girls golf coach Brian Burgoyne said.
Burgoyne said that the level of experience on this inaugural team is a pretty mixed bag, with players who have never picked up a club to players who played competitively in middle school.
Burgoyne, who described himself as sort of a weekend golfer, is no stranger to a new coaching assignment.
“My sports coaching has been somewhat eclectic. I’ve coached football, I’ve coached speech and debate. It’s just been across the board. So when they were like, ‘We need a girls golf coach,’ I was like, ‘I can do it,’” Burgoyne said.
There are always challenges that come with that inaugural season experience: figuring out the way things work, everyone getting on the same page.
A lot of his players haven’t ever been to a full-on competition. Burgoyne said he thinks one of the big challenges will be the girls “just getting used to the routine of things.”
But Burgoyne isn’t worried too much about that stuff going into the season.
Instead, he’s trying to cultivate the mentality that if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.
“The other challenge would be, just kind of equipment wise, trying to think of all the things we need to do certain drills, trying to find all the stuff. But the girls have been taking it all in stride. We’re pretty creative when it comes to figuring things out, especially considering we don’t really have a driving range right here,” Burgoyne said. The team has been practicing at the high school, using plastic balls to work on their swings.
“We’ve got some putting mats that we do for indoor stuff and then with the unseasonable hot and humid weather, I tend to rotate them out every 10 to 15 minutes, where they head out to the hill overlooking the football field and they’ve got practice balls. They practice their swings there. That works out pretty well. We are looking to get out to a driving range here pretty soon. Mostly it’s just trying to arrange the girls’ schedules,” Burgoyne said.
He said that some of the girls joined the team somewhat spontaneously, thinking it sounded like a lot of fun, but forgot to check their work schedules or inform their bosses.
“It’s been kind of like, ‘well, ok. We will find a time for that,’” Burgoyne said, laughing. Being the first year of existence, it is important that a strong foundation be laid. Burgoyne has plans to lay the groundwork for the program to have success for years to come.
“Short term goals are: trying to get a definitive skill-building program set up so no matter where you are when you join I can just kind of put you in without a problem; a very nice and straight tryout program for figuring out where people’s levels are. [A] short-term goal is just trying to get that level of organization,” Burgoyne said. “In the beginning year, you’re going to take whoever you get and you’re happy to have them: and I am. But as years go on, I’d like to see the program grow bigger and also try to include lots of students who perhaps don’t own clubs, don’t have those particular materials. I want it to be as available to as many students as possible.”
Burgoyne said that he was introduced to golf because someone was nice enough to lend him some clubs. He wants to provide that same opportunity to all students.
Winfield’s girls golf team’s first match is Sept. 10 in Washington, Missouri followed by a match in Hannibal three days later.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s a short season, but that’s okay for our first year. We can get used to it, get into it, have fun and try to just build the enthusiasm. Then next year I’m hoping maybe instead of six girls we’ll have 12 girls or more,” Burgoyne said.
Burgoyne is a big believer in golf as not only a fun activity but also one that builds character in a student and can be very rewarding.
“Golf is wonderful because, while it is a team sport, it is also a really individual sport. You are working on improving yourself. So for those people that don’t like the whole team sport aspect of ‘well what if I fail and the teams going to hate me,’ no, in this case it isn’t. I’m not looking at that. I’m looking at ‘are you improving yourself?’ That’s entirely up to you. It doesn’t matter where you are in the program, you’re doing fine. As long as you’ve worked to improve yourself, life is good,” Burgoyne said.
As far as the morale around the team for this inaugural season, Burgoyne said, “the spirit is amazing.”