New coach, new players and a brand-new league
The enthusiasm and passion of a new golf coach is an ideal match for the inexperience that constrains the South Tahoe girls’ program in 2010.
First-year coach Greg Kuntz takes over a program with only six players, including four players new to the game. The former Douglas High assistant coach is meeting the challenge flush, teaching his young players the basics of the golf swing while imparting the game’s litany of rules that sometimes confuse the pros of the game.
“It’s not a game you can take up and you are playing in a varsity tournament,” Kuntz said. “Their poor minds are going a million miles a minute. It will get better, and all that we do, it will be to build for the future.”
After Kuntz decided to end a 12-year run of coaching baseball in Canada, golf gave him a new and exciting competitive outlet while he was a student at Cal Poly Pomona.
“I became a student of the game and it led to me taking courses and teaching at a golf course there,” Kuntz said. “This position feeds my coaching desire, and it’s also the game I’m most passionate playing right now.”
As young as the Vikings are, the team still welcomes back two players who have the opportunity to play deep into the postseason. Senior Morgan McCauley and junior Morgan Murphy are veterans of the program that Kuntz is leaning on to help bring along their developing teammates.
“Definitely, if they need my help or have a question on something, I’ll help them with a ruling or anything,” Murphy said. “They have a lot of potential.”
McCauley and Murphy appreciate the fresh teaching approach that Kuntz has brought to the program.
“We’re going to have a better start on the year. With all of the players, you can already tell that they are better than they were last year,” McCauley said.
“All the other girls are really learning fast from him. He’s really helping them a lot,” Murphy said.
Murphy missed qualifying for the 4A regional tournament by a stroke last season and should be in the mix for postseason honors in the 3A.
“She has a lot of ability,” Kuntz said. “I haven’t been in the girls’ golf scene before, but watching her hit the ball, she has really a good swing and a lot of game. It will be exciting to see how far she can carry that this year.”
During a few practice holes last Thursday at Lake Tahoe Golf Course, Murphy showed some of that ability as she birdied the par-4 second hole after hitting her 150-yard approach shot within 8 feet and then sinking the putt.
“I’ve been putting a lot of effort into it, enough that I will probably be getting up,” Murphy said. “I know there are some tough competitors, but if I put my mind to it and concentrate on beating the course and not the other players, then I can maybe win.”
Kuntz recently learned that his young players will receive a scoring break – the circle 10 rule – a 3A league pace-of-play rule that dictates a player can only score a maximum of 10 on any given hole.
“If you have to count every stroke, we’d have some 7 1⁄2-hour rounds. Nobody wants a 10, but it’s not a 22,” Kuntz said. “I’m always the optimist that we are going to compete. I like the athletes that we have, and their work ethic looks to be real strong.”
Vikings at a glance
Coach: Greg Kuntz, first year
Last year: Alexis Holmes advanced to state tournament.
Key returners: Morgan Murphy, Morgan McCauley
Opener: Friday at Genoa Lakes Resort Course
2010 STHS golf schedule
Date Site Time
Friday Genoa Lakes 11 a.m.
Sept. 9 At Fallon 10 a.m.
Sept. 17 At Spring Creek 9 a.m.
Sept. 23 At Winnemucca 10 a.m.
Sept. 30 At Truckee 10 a.m.
Oct. 7 At Dayton 10 a.m.
Oct. 14 At Elko 10 a.m.