Forging a golf program from scratch
To most, George Whittell High School’s girls’ golf team is a fledgling program without much support or ambition. To first-year coach Laura Amaral, it’s a program that, if cared for, can teach players a game they will take with them the rest of their lives.
Amaral took over the team earlier this year and intends to teach a crew of seven willing players new to golf the ins and outs of a game that’s very much a part of her life.
She wants to make it a part of theirs.
“I want them to go out there and play and enjoy the game,” Amaral said. “Our goal is to improve each week and, most of all, have fun.”
The previous golf program included about three girls — not enough to field a full varsity team.
The Warriors have a full roster this year, but six of the seven picked up a club for the first time three weeks ago.
The team had its first match last Thursday at Eagle Valley, and according to Amaral, it was mission accomplished.
Amaral set out a goal to complete nine holes. All five varsity golfers made it through, and one played all 18.
“They put their heart into it and I was just so pleased that they went out there,” she said.
Amaral said this season will be a rebuilding year, but with the help of Dave Mancour, a teaching professional, and golf courses around South Shore, she hopes it will be the kind of year that gives the program new legs to stand on.
“I want to build this program for Whittell and hope to attract golfers next year, not just beginners but people who have played golf, so we can be competitive,” she said.
Amaral runs the Genoa Lakes Ladies Golf tournaments and plays for the Northern Nevada High Sierra Team.
So far, she’s attracted a team comprised of senior Ashleigh Trim, juniors Hanna Ouellette and Kelsie Bateman, sophomores Elise Ehrler and Elisa Seppa, and freshmen Sarah Angstadt and Maria Tracy.
The top five golfers are expected to play a full round of 18 at their next match today in Incline Village.
“You can tell they want to play,” Amaral said. “And golf is just slow. It doesn’t happen overnight … but one day it’s going to click and they’re going to surprise themselves.”
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