Smith-Cotton High School girls golf has had the same coach for more than two decades, but a new face takes over in 2014.
Chris Guffey is taking over a high school program for the first time, but he’s been an assistant professional at a golf course in the past.
“They are learning me and I’m learning them,” Guffey said. “I’m learning how to communicate better and they’re learning to be patient with me.”
The Lady Tigers field an eight-member team, and Guffey said he sees the potential for success.
“We don’t want to put too much pressure on the girls, but we certainly have four girls that have the game to be able to make the state tournament,” he said.
As a team, Smith-Cotton took seventh in the district tournament last season. Two players qualified for sectionals, but didn’t make it to the state tournament.
Senior Ali Burkholder missed the cut by one stroke while Olivia Funk finished 34th in the sectional tournament last season. Funk returns for her senior season this fall.
“I would like to make it to state this year,” Funk said. “That’s my goal.”
With a new coach, the way the team practices has changed. They are split up in groups at the driving range, putting green and practice hole.
“I think it helps more because we practice everything and then he gets to help us one on one on the driving range,” said senior Destiny Lamb.
Lamb said she’s been focusing on improving her stance.
“My driver is pretty good, but my irons are what I need to work on,” she said. “Putting also, but I think we all need to work on that.”
Sophomore Annie Guier said she can hit with her irons pretty good, but many trips to the putting green may be on tap in practice.
“I’ve been trying to work on it,” she said about putting. “Putting can be really good one day and really bad another day.”
Guffey is also available for practice any day of the week.
“It helps this year we have five practices a week and coach gives us two optional practices Saturday and Sunday,” Lamb said. “We really could work every single day if we want.”
Senior Matalyn Boeschen said she wants to help the team get past districts this season. As for her individual game, she said she wants to increase her yardage off the tee.
“I need to get longer drives to help me out,” she said.
While the ultimate goal is to have state qualifiers, Guffey said he’s keeping the goals simple at first.
“It sounds like a small goal, but I’d like to win a trophy in an away tournament as well as a trophy in our Smith-Cotton Classic,” he said.