Prep golfers to quickly get an understanding of their readiness
The high school boys golf season gets the fall prep sports schedule going, and it gets it going quickly.
Monday is the first tournament of the year for the four Grand Valley high schools with the Tiger Invitational teeing off at Bookcliff Country Club. It’s followed by Tuesday’s Warrior Invitational at Tiara Rado Golf Course and Wednesday’s Montrose Invitational at Bridges Golf Course.
“It’s funny with golf more than any other sport you coach,” Fruita Monument coach Dave Fox said. “In all the others you spend all this time practicing and you finally have a game, but in golf it comes fast. The kids have to have their games ready because they don’t have a lot of time to get it in shape.”
Fruita Monument is led by Joey Saad, who regularly shot low scores last season, but was didn’t qualify for the state tournament.
“Joey was disappointed in the way his season ended last year at regionals,” Fox said. “He wanted to try to do everything he could to get his game so it doesn’t happen again.”
Along with Saad, Casey Knuepfer, Will Berg, Eric Jacobs and Ryan Blair will contend for varsity playing time for the Wildcats.
“These 11 tournaments we play are just setting you up regionals,” Fox said. “It’s all about getting ready for regionals, so for every tournament we hope the kids are working a different aspect of their game.”
Whereas the girls golf season comes after the winter months, the boys golfers have the advantage of being able to put in a whole summer of golf. The first three tournaments showcase who has put in the work.
“You can tell who played over the summer just by their confidence and demeanor,” Grand Junction coach Tom LeFebre said. “It’s pretty obvious, especially with their play around the green.”
Grand Junction’s top player looks to be Alex Wise.
“More than anything, he’s improved a lot from last year to this year,” LeFebre said. “It’s all a result of him being at the golf course.”
Grand Junction’s varsity will also include Garrett Harrison, Garrett Fante and Keith Rockwood.
Aside from Wise, the other three players are all underclassmen.
Central is in a similar situation with a senior leading the charge.
The Warriors top golfer is Chad Johnson, and Warriors coach Todd Dixon said Johnson is a well-rounded player who is ready to hit the course.
“Chad has that demeanor on the course and we are hoping the other kids pick it up from him,” Dixon said. “The goal for this group is to take golf a little more serious and put in the work required to be consistent.”
Central also has Taylor Haynie, Blake Johnson, and Nick and Brian Harvey looking to contribute.
Palisade still has a relatively young team, and its top returner is sophomore Kyler Smith.
Junior Tyler Day and senior Kyle Avrett are also varsity returners.