Inaugural Girls Golf Team Set To Tee Off This Spring


Photo via Lindsay Hong

Spring senior captain Lindsay Hong makes a putt. “I’m so excited for the new team and to meet all the other girls,” Hong said.

This spring marks the first ever season of girls’ golf at HHS, led by the boys’ golf coach Bill Phaneuf.

As the first season of girls’ golf is offered, it is considered a pilot program. Athletic Director Kiley Murray explains what it means to be a pilot program.

“The school committee decided that for us to add a new program, we had to give it two years to see if we had the sustained interest. So what they dictate is that for the first year of the program it has to be self funded,” Murray said.

This past fall marked coach Phaneuf’s third season as the head boys coach. Phaneuf details the biggest differences between coaching boys and coaching girls.

“Our boys team has been fairly renowned for a number of years now, I don’t get to do as much teaching the game and the swing because these guys are already pretty good players. The girls team is going to be made up of a large number of inexperienced players and I’m looking forward to helping them from the ground up and really develop them into real good golfers that enjoy the game,” Phaneuf said.

As girls’ golf is such a new program, the team isn’t as bound to strict tryout requirements.

“With skilled sports like this, sometimes theres an intimidation factor that holds people back but I think coach Phaneuf has done a good job of educating and putting it out there that we’re open to all sorts of skill levels,” Murray said.

Photo: Golf Ball on a Tee
With the spring season rapidly approaching, and a few inches of snow still on the ground, it’s likely this golf season will start off in backyards rather than a course.  (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

Despite the majority of players being new to the sport, there is no shortage of golf experience on the upcoming team, with senior captains Lindsay Hong and Emma Canestrari playing with the boys in co-ops in past fall seasons.

Another departure from the standard for the boys in the fall is the structure of matches. The boys play what is called stroke play in the regular season and through state tournaments.

“So in stroke play, you play your own ball, you add up your number of strokes, and you have a score. Then you compare that against the other player against the other team and whoever has the lower score wins that match,” Phaneuf said.

The girls will play what’s called match play in the regular season and stroke play in state tournaments.

“In match play, it’s a little more one on one, in terms of how it’s scored. There’s a point for winning a hole, zero if you lose a hole, and if the players were to tie they’d each get half a point. There’s a total of 9 points available in each match,” Phaneuf said.

There is much anticipation and excitement anytime a new sports program is introduced. Athletic Director Murray is particularly excited about bringing more girls’ sports to the school.

Photo: Shamrock Patterned Golf Ball in the Grass
A shamrock patterned golf ball sits in the grass, as the season approaches. The girls will need some good luck with the weather as practices can start as early as March 20th, just three days after St. Patrick’s day. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

“I’m really excited that we’re just offering it and excited to see you guys out there, I personally really like golf too, and just to add girls sports is important and I’m excited to do it,” Murray said.

Senior captain Lindsay Hong can’t wait to get on the green and start the spring season.

“I can already tell that this season is going to be so much fun. I’m really looking forward to working with a bunch of other talented girls and creating a nice bond with the team,” Hong said.

Senior boys golfer Nolan Kelly shares his thoughts on the new team.

“I think it’s really cool there’s a girls team now. Coach Phaneuf is great so they’ll have a good season for sure,” Kelly said.

Coach Phaneuf spoke about the significance of being part of the one and only, first-ever girls’ golf team at HHS.

“It’s cool for me and all of the girls who are going to be on this one team for this one year, it’s really cool to be a part of something that you created, that you started,” Phaneuf said.