By Patrick MacCoonRecord Sports EditorHistory is in the making as Warrenton will put its first golf team out on the green this fall.On Monday, Aug. 31, the Warriors will open the season with a match against Liberty at Warrenton Golf Course.“That date will be historic because it officially marks the first time in school history we’ve ever had a girls golf program,” Head Coach Matt Griffin said.“For our eight girls, it’s going to be something they can be proud of and always look back on because they will be the ones who made the new program possible.”While no seniors or freshmen are on the roster, three juniors and five sophomores will comprise Griffin’s squad.Helping bring about the new program are juniors Jordan Todd, Deanna Martin, Liberty Billings, and sophomores Morgan Toebben, Robyn Keiser, Taylor Null, Hunter Simmons and Lindsay Neuhaus.While only two players have strong golf backgrounds, the debut season will be focused on setting a strong foundation for a program that hopes to build up for years to come.“Part of the reason why I wanted to coach this team was so I could teach them the basics the right way,” Griffin said. “I told them in our team meeting at the start of school that we are focused first and foremost on building a strong foundation. What we want this season is to show that we have commitment and the desire to take things to the next level.”Griffin actually values his team’s inexperience. The opportunity to get out on the course and teach the sport he has vast knowledge about and has enjoyed over the past decade is a happy thought.“One of the cool things about all of the girls who will be playing golf for the first time is that they haven’t had the opportunity to form bad habits yet with their golf swing,” he said. “I feel confident in my ability and understanding of the proper golf swing to get them started out on the right track. It’s about teaching them the basics this year and giving them things that they can work on even after the season ends, so we can come back the next year and start to compete in the conference.”On the first official day of fall practice, only two girls practiced on the Warrenton Golf Course for Warrenton. For Griffin, the ability to recruit once school started back helped a great deal in fulfilling the requirement of needing to have at least five players in order to form a schedule and compete.“It’s really come to fruition since school started back,” he said. “We’ve been able to get a lot of girls interested in the sport and they are excited about it. They are a little anxious and nervous just because we haven’t had that much time yet to practice. Some of the girls’ first times on the golf course will be when the shots count. We are going to do the best to prepare them and to help them learn and adjust to the sport.”During practices, one of the keys for Warrenton will be to focus on a single aspect of golf at a time.“To be really good at golf, you have to practice over and over,” Griffin said. “We won’t practice and just go out and play nine holes. We will always try to find something to work on and zone in on in specific.”Martin will be the only golfer with previous experience playing for a school as she was allowed to play on the boys golf team last season. She also played on the Fort Zumwalt North girls golf team before transferring to Warrenton.She and Todd, who has a family background in the sport, have already begun to share their knowledge of the sport with their teammates.“They’ve both done a great job giving the new girls tips and I’ll lean on them a lot to help teach the girls that are new to golf,” Griffin said. “They can teach just as much as I can and I’m not holding them back from that.”In year one of the new program, the goals are simple.“We want to get the fundamentals of golf taught to the girls first,” Griffin said. “By the time these girls become seniors, they will have had experience and we can be competitive.”For Warrenton, the start to the new program is a huge accomplishment in itself.“This is going to be a learning process for us all, but we are all excited and ready to go,” he said.
Girls golf will have its first match on Aug. 31 against Liberty.