American welcomes its first girl’s golf team this fall
Jaclyn Ferreira and Rena Wei
As the heat of summer transitions into the coolness of fall, most people are prepping for the upcoming school year. For ten girls in particular, though, school is not the only thing on their minds. Rather than just pack their books into their backpacks, the girls golf team is stuffing extra tees and golf balls into the empty pockets of their red, white, and blue golf bags. After years of not having enough girls to participate, American has finally gained enough members to join the official FUSD Girl’s Golf League.
“I wanted to join because I wanted to experience playing in a golf match,” Samantha Mata (11) revealed. “Before, golf was a mixed sport and it was hard to get a spot to play because we had plenty of great male golfers who took the spots to play.”
The first year is definitely not the easiest. Most of the girls are unphased by the transition from playing with boys to girls. But for a few players, this is a whole new ball game. Why would it be difficult, some may wonder? Unlike other sports, golf takes more than just energy and strength. It’s a mental game, and all you have on the course is your determination to shoot the lowest score.
“Golf is a mind game,” Mata said. “If you think about your swing too much, you end up hitting a bad one, which messes up the rest of your match. The first couple holes, I’m always nervous because other players are watching you and I overthink things. But halfway through, I relax and try to have fun.”
Experience is definitely not a requirement to join the team. In fact, half the team had little to no experience when they first joined. Ability is not what matters the most; what is important is getting girls out on the course.
“Golf is a sport that takes time and patience to get good at,” Amisha Jain (10) said. “Honestly, the season is way too short to expect immediate results, but it’s definitely a good place to get a start!”
Besides matches, the girls golf team prioritizes gaining experience and connecting with fellow team members. Sure, golf requires a solid mental strategy, but the encouragement of your teammates helps ease stress and gain self confidence.
“In the first season, I was taught many new golfing techniques by Coach Winiger and the rest of the team,” Manal Ahmed (9) said. “At first, I was frightened because I was a freshmen who was new to the sport and most of the team [was] upperclassmen who were more experienced. However, we soon bonded over a pleasurable short period of time. Hopefully next year, more girls try out for the team that forms a more talented team.“