Boys’ golf improves through team bonding

  After his stroke, senior Eric Yum follows the ball, waiting to see where it lands.  The boys came back from a rocky start with a chance to compete in Sectionals.

Quinn Toomey

After his stroke, senior Eric Yum follows the ball, waiting to see where it lands. The boys came back from a rocky start with a chance to compete in Sectionals.

Emma Hammer, staff reporter

Senior Jack Upperman aligns his putter, takes a deep breath, and drains the ball in the hole at the Boy’s Golf Sectional match. He looks up and notices his teammate, senior Eric Noxon, celebrating his hit. The Boy’s Golf team had a successful season as they grew close as a team and continued to improve their game.

The Boy’s Golf team as a whole did not advance past regionals. A few individuals advanced to Sectionals, and their other teammates had fun going to watch and support them, according to Noxon.

“[My favorite memory] could easily have been [at Sectionals],” Noxon said. “I texted Jack over the phone, ‘Yo man good luck, you are going to have a lot of fun. Do well, [and when] you see me on the course, don’t get startled.’ I saw him on the course and he drained a putt and he looked at me and he laughed and it was just such a cool experience.”

According to Head Coach Jeff Paek, they spent a lot of time during the season how important it is to support your teammates on and off the course. Their goal was to make golf have more of a team aspect, rather than be just an individual sport.

“The whole year we have been trying to stress coming together as a team,” Paek said. “Golf is such an individual sport, it’s really easy to just be fixated on how you are doing. We’ve been really trying to stress caring about your team–it’s about being a good teammate on the golf course, and really caring how your team is doing.”

Senior Eric Yum also says that the boys continue to bond off the course. They enjoy spending time with each other outside practice. It is easy for them to find something to do, since they all share a common interest – golf, he said.

“We all love playing [golf],” Yum said. “We either play a round or go to the range or something.”

Not only did the boys grow as a team this season, but they also worked on improving their mental game, according to Paek. He describes how golf is a sport that incorporates your mindset just as much as your skill.

“The other idea we have been stressing is to really never give up,” Paek said. “It’s a cliche, but golf is about taking one shot at a time. It’s really easy in golf to let a bad shot affect the next shot or the next hole.”

Paek says the boys struggled with this mentality at the beginning of the season, but by the end he could see the huge improvement. One of his favorite memories this season was when the team played Maine South, because in this match the boys stayed positive and worked as a team–the two goals they were focused on for the season.

“We had a match against Maine South where it really felt like the golfers were not only caring about what they were doing, which is hard enough, but really rooting and pulling for their teammates as well,” Paek said. “I really felt like none of the guys gave up and that they battled till the very end. It was just great to see not only them care about their teammates, but also mentally be strong till the very end.”

The Titans finished their season at Niles West. The team placed fifth overall and Upperman, junior Aaron Chong and junior Junho Oh advanced to Sectionals.