Girls’ golf poised to start swinging
February 15, 2008
It’s been a number of months since the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) made a little history by establishing girls golf as a separate sport from the boys. Now it looks like Park City is poised to make a little more history in the sport.
This spring, the Miners will play their first season of girls golf with a surprisingly full squad. Of course, it’s no secret that Park City is home to Sami Crouch, one of the state’s top junior women’s golfers, but this season she will be joined by at least nine other teammates, some with experience others without.
According to newly named head coach George Murphy, he was shocked when girls kept coming into his Park City High School classroom expressing their interest in the tryouts. He expected a handful, sure, but nowhere near this many.
"I though we’d probably have half that if we were lucky," Murphy said. "There’s girls that wanted to play that were intimidated This is a good thing. I was pleasantly surprised."
It will still be a bit of a transitional year. The Region 10 meeting was held this past Tuesday to hammer out details as basic as tournament and practice schedules, but Murphy is optimistic. According Some of the basics they discussed included when to start season and how to run the tournaments at each school. With schools like Park City, Union and Uintah still buried underneath piles of snow, even picturing the golf season right now is a bit of a stretch. But everyone is counting on a thaw by the end of March to get things underway. Park City decided to go last, in early May, in hopes that the ground and weather will both be ready by then. Judge and Waterford will host the first two tournaments, followed by a combination of both Union and Uintah’s tournaments on the same day.
It will also be a challenge this year working with different ability levels. Crouch and her parents were among a group of accomplished female teen golfers in the state that protested the UHSAA’s change because they worried about the competition level.
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"We just really wanted the girls that were really competitive to be able to be on the boys’ team," Murphy explained.
Making a transition into a solid program could take awhile, but Murphy is optimistic. At the region meeting, they decided to make all but the last tournament just nine holes to keep things manageable and moving each week, with many inexperienced girls on all of the rosters.
"The days could be long in the first year," Murphy said. "You gotta take it slow."
Murphy is not totally new to high school golf. He serves as the boys assistant coach and accepted the challenge to head the fledging program when he was approached by the school. His current conundrum is figuring out where the girls can practice initially, with snow covering every course in a 50-mile radius. He plans to do some indoor training at the Basin Recreation Field House. Later, Glenwild, a private course, generously offered the school the opportunity to hold some practices on their course.
The State Tournament will be held on May 13 and combine the 1A, 2A and 3A divisions. Murphy says he will be interested in this inaugural season to see how things go for the Miners, as well as other schools who battle long winters in Logan and Salt Lake, and how that affects the season.
Murphy also says that he is still on the lookout for more young women to add to the team. He encourages females in private schools who are interested in competing to attend the first team meeting on Feb. 25 at the Park City High School library at 2:45 p.m. He says that, depending on numbers, there may not even be tryouts.