Golf was the first fall high school sports to start, though COVID-19 has pushed the start date back and shortened the regular season — and remains a threat.
Here's a look from local coaches in Glendale and Peoria at their teams:
Coach: Brad Tenbarge (first year coaching golf at Centennial)
Region: Division II Section VI
Who are your top returning golfers? I have five returners in my top 6. Kyle Roberts (12th grade), Jake Lydic (12th grade), Lantz Fraze (12th grade), Owen Dow, (12th grade) and Kellen Monroe (10th grade)
Who are some of the newcomers that may have an impact this year? Boaz Swartz is a freshman having a huge impact this year. He’s earned a spot as our No. 4 golfer and has lowered his average score by 3 strokes in just 3 weeks.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attribute is our leadership. With so many seniors (five returners and six total) each practice is a breeze as these guys get in an lead the way on the driving range and on the course. Golf is such a game of tradition and etiquette and these guys are the best example for our new guys and our developing players.
What are the primary goals for this year’s team? Our primary team goal is to qualify for state and play at a highly competitive level there. These guys have endured so much change in the last four years, but the pieces are there that can really give us a competitive edge. Kyle, Jake and Lantz are workhorses who provide a core of low-scoring rounds which allows Owen, Kellen and Bo to really reach for their best games. It’s working too. Average scores are going down. The pandemic has certainly put several obstacles in our way. Our home course decided to postpone all high school golf so we had to move. The later start to the season meant we are bumping up against overseeding and had to move matches and everyone is dropping invitationals. If anything, though, these obstacles have strengthened their focus. Every day I had to come to them with another change and they took it in stride and used wherever we were to work on the finer points of their games. They lean on each other, encourage each other and stay unified. I couldn’t be prouder to be their coach.
Coaches: Scott Lanning (ninth year)
Region: Division I Northwest
Who are your top returning golfers? We do not have any returning golfers.
Who are some of the newcomers that may have an impact this year? Josh Haislip is going to be pretty good once he plays more — he played a lot of JGAA as a kid but took a break for a few years and is back.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? This is one of the nicest groups of kids I’ve ever coached.
What are the primary goals for this year’s team? It sounds cliche but we literally want to drop our iWannamaker score each time we play — so far we have done that — started with 90, dropped to 86, and today 66. So we just want to work on shaving off a few strokes per kid per round. I don’t think our focus has changed due to COVID. Golf was really not impacted as much as other sports so we are just happy to be out there playing.
Coach: Ron Anderson (13th year)
Region: Division I Desert Valley
Who are your top returning golfers? Our top 3 were all in the top 5 last year, Evan Averyt, Dylan Kohner and Tyler Linam .
Who are some of the newcomers that may have an impact this year? Brayden Gilpin is a freshman who just moved here from California. I expect he will contributre significatntly this year to our team
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Confidence and experience, our top three were very active in JGAA events this past summer. Evan Averyt ended the summer as the 15-18 year olds points leader in JGAA.
What are the primary goals for this year’s team? Our team goal this year is as always to make it to state as a team. We would also like to defend out district titile againt this year. But for right now, we are just happy to be able to be out there competing.