Girls Varsity Gold Team finishes season strong

Sammy Matays and Leila Dossani

Despite the Girls Varsity Golf Team’s loss to the Hackley School on Tuesday, everyone played incredibly and put their all into their matches, Julia Eizenstat (9) said. 

“We started on hole three because they wanted us to go ahead since we were going to move faster, and we only ended up playing six holes.” Eisenstat ended up winning her match five holes to one.

The golf team’s match on Tuesday took place at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Sofia Filardo (10) said. “It was really pretty, one of the nicest clubs we have played at.” Even though they lost, the team was close to winning as they won two matches and were close to winning the third one, Filardo said. In general, the team needs to win three out of five of the matches to win a game, she said. 

Sophie Li (9), another member of the team, had an extremely close match, in which she lost by just one stroke, she said. The players were tied two holes to two, until her opponent won on the next hole. “I think my short game could’ve been a lot better that day, but I did still hit some nice shots so I’m satisfied,” she said. 

One thing the team has done this year is finalize their lineup, which is the ranking of five members on the team, Filardo said. In terms of the competition, players from each team that have the same seed number play against one another. Players will go up against their opponent and play a minimum of five holes and a maximum of nine holes, depending on who wins five points first, Filardo said. Whichever player wins that match gets a point for their team, she said. 

Even though it is Sophie’s first year on the team, the other players have been welcoming, she said. Sophie enjoys how being on the team gives her the opportunity to play a sport that she loves as well as spend time with people from the school community, she said.

Golf is a very time consuming sport, but our team practices give us a lot of time to communicate and get to know one another as we play, Heidi Li (10) said. The team has gotten very close and when they are together, they have a great energy, Heidi said. Many team members will also bring homemade baked goods into school so that the players can eat and bond while they play golf, Heidi wrote. 

Coach Caroline Surhoff decides whether the team practices or not by considering the weather conditions, the availability of outdoor spaces to practice, and the schedule of the teams’ matches, she said. The team typically practices three days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, but this can easily change, Surhoff said. For example, as the weather gets warmer, facilities tend to be more crowded on Fridays, leading to changes in when and where the team practices, she said. 

When the team can not have access to courses, or a driving range they hold practices in the Lower Division (LD) gym, Surhoff said. In the LD gym, players practice by hitting balls off of tees into nets and chipping onto mats. On Tuesdays, the team either has a match or practices on the course at Sunningdale Country Club, she said. Finally, on Fridays, Surhoff takes the team to the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course to play seven holes. 

Dani Brooks (9) prefers practicing on golf courses rather than in the LD gym, since playing indoors does not accurately recreate the feeling of playing the sport outside, she said. Despite the fact that they typically miss the late bus, she enjoys playing on real courses and spending time with the team, Brooks said. 

Surhoff makes a point of teaching her players that their mentality is important to their golf game, she said. “Jack Nicklaus said,‘the game of golf is ninety percent mental and ten percent physical,’” Surhoff said. There are so many different things to remember before you hit a shot. Each lie is different, weather conditions may vary, and courses have different layouts.”

In addition, Surhoff teaches her team to be in the moment when they are playing, she said. “Being in the moment will help you play more relaxed, and have the concentration skills that you need to shoot a good game.” 

Another large part of practice is teaching the team to play with proper golf etiquette, Surhoff said. “Golf etiquette refers to a set of rules and practices designed to make the game of golf safer and more enjoyable for golfers, and to minimize possible damage to the course.” 

Although these rules are not formally set in place, it is important that players be courteous golfers and abide by golf etiquette, she said. “Even though you are playing with your friends, it is important to respect who you are playing with.”

Sophie loves that the team can talk about topics other than golf, such as school, and still have a great time, she said. The team has slowly warmed up to each other as the season has progressed, and she always feels comfortable and relaxed around her team members, she said.

Over the course of the season, Surhoff has watched her players improve their skills and become more confident in themselves. Practice has helped them feel much more prepared and knowledgeable about the game, she said. Some players were nervous in the beginning of the season and had some hesitation while playing, she said. Over the course of the season, players have turned their nervousness into excitement and are able to find much more enjoyment while playing, she said.