High schools experience increased interest in girls’ golf

  • Friday, October 4, 2013

Roger Lee/Journal Scene Summerville’s Jordan Manning hits a ball onto the green.

Photos

Participation in girls’ golf at Dorchester 2 high schools is on the rise.

This fall marks the first time in Summerville High School’s storied athletic history that the school has fielded a girls’ golf team. The Green Wave has had some very talented female golfers in the past who were competitive but they all played on the boys’ team. At least one SHS golfer played with Fort Dorchester during the girls’ golf season back when the Fort was the only District Two school with a girls’ team.

“Last year we knew we had the support of Principal Kenny Farrell and we talked about forming a girls’ team but didn’t have enough interest from students,” Summerville golf coach Aaron Litz said. “This year we had more interest and Athletic Director John McKissick gave us the go ahead so we had try outs.”

At the beginning of the school year Litz found the five golfers he needed to field a team – juniors Jordan Manning, Cassidy Weeks and Rebecca Provost and seniors Crystal Ewens and Moriah Mitchell.

“Some of our girls haven’t seen that much competition but we do have golfers who hit well and they are all working hard on their game,” Litz said. “Bray Blanton at Miler Country Club is providing some instruction and having someone who is PGA certified work with them has helped a lot.”

The team has held its own for a start-up program and hopes to make some noise at the Region 8-AAAA championship match Oct. 14 in Beaufort. This year all schools in the region except Colleton County have a team to send to the match.

Ashley Ridge founded its girls’ golf program just last school year. The team had seven golfers that season but now has 12.

“Girls’ golf and junior golf in general has really became popular over the last couple years,” Ashley Ridge coach Chris Shaw said. “I give the local clubs a lot of credit for all of the junior programs and clinics they offer. All of our beginners from last year played in tournaments, joined leagues and took lessons over the summer and have really improved their game. We added some young athleticism to the group and that has really helped our team and has made everything more competitive.”

All three Dorchester Two golf coaches say the help of instructors at Miler, Legend Oaks, Wescott and Coosaw Creek golf courses has been important in helping them develop the skills of the girls on their teams.

Freshman Annette Paxton is the most experienced golfer on the Ashley Ridge team. Last year, she shot an 80 at the Lower State tournament to finish in the top 10 and qualify for State. Other Ashley Ridge golfers hoping to have a good showing at the upcoming region match include Tiffany Holt, Danielle Paxton, Grace Zoller, Maya Timmons, Grayson Henley, Hannah Herman and Gator Meiers.

Fort Dorchester has fielded a girls’ golf team for several seasons now. Their experience paid off last year at the region tournament, where they placed second to Bluffton, as well as at the Lower State golf tournament.

The Lady Patriots qualified as a team for the 2012 state tournament with a seventh-place finish at the 4-A Lowerstate Tournament. This season, the Fort returned several golfers from that team.

“We have some golfers who have improved since last season,” Fort Dorchester coach Tom Wilson said. “Taylor Mayers and Bella Hamby have played a lot of junior golf and had some impressive performances.”

Delanie Mortier, Abby Ondrus and Jordan Carlson are among the other Fort players who have shown promise early this season. The Patriots have 13 golfers on their team this fall.

There are a lot of opportunities for young female golfers to earn college scholarship money and coaches anticipate interest in girls’ high school golf to continue to grow.

“We didn’t have any middle school students come out this year and I think if we do a better job of letting those students know about our team that will change,” Litz said. “I’m hoping we can get some younger golfers on the team next year.”



Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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