“We have a good chance to be one of the better teams on the Western Slope this year. The seniors have a lot of talent and I see a lot of talent that can progress in all the players.”
— Parker King, an incoming Moffat County High School senior, on his expectations for the boys varsity golf team this year
Ken Harjes drove the back nine Wednesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, carefully monitoring and evaluating each of his players.
Harjes, the veteran Moffat County High School boys varsity golf coach, will make a decision today on what players will play in the team’s season-opening tournament Aug. 15 at Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction.
“We have a lot of experienced players and lot of younger players, so I keep an eye on everyone,” Harjes said. “I have to make sure they all know what to expect on the course and what we expect out of them.”
While all other MCHS fall sports teams officially begin practice Aug. 15, the golf team started Aug. 8 to prepare for three tournaments next week.
Harjes said he expects between 13 or 14 players to be on the team, including four incoming seniors — Trey Jourgensen, Colby Haddan, Parker King and Ethan O’Mailia.
The first two days of practice this week were used to work on basic areas of the game — chipping, putting and driving. The Bulldogs played a round of 18 on Wednesday and another round today to determine the five golfers who will play in next week’s tournaments.
Along with Bookcliff, the team will travel to Montrose on Aug. 17 and 18 to play at Black Canyon Golf Club and The Bridges Golf Course, respectively.
Because the team only has one week of practice before the first tournament, Harjes said it was important his players get on the golf course in the summer.
“It would have been difficult to get all the players confident enough with their game to play in a tournament in just one week,” he said. “Golfing during the summer keeps them practicing and getting better for the season.”
King, who qualified for the state tournament last year as a junior, said he has a good feeling about the team this year.
“We have a good chance to be one of the better teams on the Western Slope this year,” King said. “The seniors have a lot of talent and I see a lot of talent that can progress in all the players.”
While King said he wasn’t anxious to have his final season begin, he is ready to be back out competing.
“I am excited,” he said. “I think it is going to be a good year and I think I can do some things like last year. I need to work on getting more birdies. I am hitting the fairways and getting on the greens, I just need to be able to make the putts for birdie.”
Harjes said he and assistant coach Casey Kilpatrick have had to work with new golfers on rules of the game as well as technique.
“They need to know the rules so they don’t break them and they know if someone in their playing group is,” Harjes said. “It will also help them on the course because they may land next to a tree, but if they know the rules, they could end up shooting from the fairway.”
Plus, Harjes said, with the help of the seniors, who all played on the regional team last year, he thinks big things can happen this season.
“I think experience in golf helps more than any other sport,” he said. “I can tell the kids what to do and help prepare them, but until they get out and experience it, they aren’t going to know.”
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