- Lauren Hagerty ’21 & Alexandra Hull ’22
With the addition of new players and coaches, the girl’s golf team at SHP has begun a promising season filled with exciting matches, hard work, and plenty of laughs. In the past, the team has struggled to find players willing to take on the difficult sport. However, as more of the SHP community is catching on to the exciting team culture and spirit, an increasing number of girls have been motivated to explore the world of competitive golf.
Over the past three years, the SHP girl’s team has seen a dramatic increase in the number of players, both returning and new. Last year, only two seniors were on varsity; however, this year, five of the twelve players are seniors. The team is extremely welcoming, supportive, and respectful of varying skill levels, and everyone understands how challenging the game can be. It is a very tight knit group of individuals, and the coaches help contribute to the positive vibe of the team.
Mark Dowdy, the head coach, has been in charge of the team for twelve years, lead the team through 1 league championship, and four C.C.S. appearances. The girls describe him as “a caring and dedicated coach, who brings constant enthusiasm and reassurance to the team and all players.” Ms. Liz Hogan, the lower school’s P.E. teacher and SHP girl’s varsity lacrosse coach, acts as the assistant golf coach. The team values her fun and inclusive energy, which she carries with her to all practices and matches. This year, the team has welcomed Dawn Hemm, girl’s athletic director at the Prep, to the coaching staff as well. Ms. Hemm has been a golfer all her life, and even coached the SHP boys golf team at one point. Since all of the coaches come from different backgrounds, there is a fresh mix of knowledge and coaching styles which helps to keep practices and matches exciting and players on their toes.
Golf is surrounded by the stigma of being “old-fashioned” and “boring”, but this team is completely changing the perception, making it filled with laughter and fun-times, both on and off the course. Currently, the team consists of girls stretching across all grades and golfing abilities, which can make it difficult to bond. However, this year’s team captains, Chloe Kufeld and Madeleine Smith, are hoping to improve the camaraderie of the team through events such as team lunches, matching school-day outfits, team dinners, and of course, regularly updating their fans on the instagram (@shpgirlsgolf) . These activities are working to help bring the whole team together. As Chloe Kufeld says, “It is such a small team, so we really try to make sure all the girls feel included”.
The girls plays many matches at their home-course of Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club; however, the team also plays all over the Peninsula including Menlo Country Club, Baylands Golf Links, San Jose Muni, Palo Alto Golf and Country Club, and Crystal Springs Golf Course. Although the current team does not often celebrate exciting wins, all of the girls enjoy focusing on the game as a whole.
It can be difficult to put away the scorecard and be in the moment when playing the high-pressure game of golf, but everyone works hard to enjoy all of the game’s perks and not just the birdies and pars. As the season progresses, the girl’s golf team is excited to improve their game while also having fun and making lasting memories.