Girls’ golf team is lacking in players

Bianca Smith and Rory Dungan

The girls’ golf team is struggling with numbers after five seniors graduated in the spring.

The team only has one returning varsity player, junior Julie Johnson. Because of limited experience, the girls have undergone major changes with tournaments, which are their main source of competition during the season. Head coach Jim Bamburg is playing it safe by entering the other four players in JV tournaments.

“It’s been tough to decide if we’re going to be a full varsity team, or just a JV team,” Bamburg said. “We have made some adjustments to our schedule, and we’re hoping that by October we have some other girls that are ready to play with Julie on these bigger tournaments.”

Due to bad weather conditions, the team has only participated in one tournament, although their season is approaching a month in length. The girls were planned to host a tournament at Lake Quivira on Aug. 26, which was rained out; however, Johnson went on to compete against Shawnee Mission East at Milburn Golf Course the next week. Since the tournament was 18 holes and tougher than some other courses, Johnson was the only player from Northwest.

“We’re trying to get the other girls a few more practices in first before they get into something like that,” Bamburg said. “I don’t want to put a girl in a situation that they’re not ready for. If they’re not ready, I don’t want to destroy their confidence.”

The all-time low numbers on the team are frustrating for sophomore Sloan Munson, who thinks girls simply don’t give the sport a chance.

“I wish that there could be more girls playing golf instead of just having girls pushing it off to the side to play other sports,” Munson said.

For Johnson, however, the size of the team is bittersweet.

“I’m a little sad that we don’t have a lot of people on our team,” Johnson. “But I’m pretty optimistic playing as an individual. It’s good being a small team because we’re all really close.”

Looking forward, though, the girls must make the most of what they have. Bamburg is hopeful about the future of the rookie players.

“By the end of the year, it would be nice to have all five of them going to regionals and being able to play at the varsity level,” Bamburg said.

The team’s next tournament is today at 3 p.m. at Tiffany Springs Golf Course. It is hosted by Park Hill High School.