Casey Kilpatrick came into the 2012 golf season knowing it wouldn’t be a banner year for the Bulldogs.
That didn’t mean Kilpatrick wouldn’t have good things to take away from his first season as the team’s head coach.
The Moffat County boys golf season came to and end Tuesday when they were ousted in the Colorado 3A Western Regional tournament at Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez.
Tyler Jenkins led the varsity, shooting a 100. Casey Nations (102), Colten Yoast (107) and Jake Bingham (115) also played for the Bulldogs.
The team score of 309 was not close to qualifying Moffat County for the state tournament, but the Bulldogs knew the writing was on the wall going in.
“I’m proud of the kids for going out there and competing,” Kilpatrick said. “They knew they had no chance of qualifying for state based on what they had been shooting and what they had seen other kids shoot this year. But they went out there and competed hard, did their best and represented Moffat County well.”
In a rebuilding season, Kilpatrick knew early on his team would not be a state competitor.
“(300) is about where the kids have been shooting all year and that’s typical of golf scores,” he said. “A kid’s going to shoot the same amount unless they go out and do a lot of practicing over a significant amount of time. The seven weeks we have (during the season) isn’t really enough to see a significant improvement in scores.”
Kilpatrick is more proud of the improvement he saw in his players swings and attitudes after a rocky start to the season.
“They had the one tournament where a couple guys let their frustration get the best of them,” he said. “We had a talk after that about behavior on the course, and I didn’t see that happen again. They pulled it together and it was nice for them to go out there and just enjoy playing.”
Many of the junior varsity golfers who came out for the team this fall had never played the game in their life. So while it was at times difficult and frustrating for many of those players, they also got to enjoy some of golf’s best attributes.
“We had a lot of brand new golfers come out this year, but I think we’re going to have a lot of returners next year,” Kilpatrick said. “There’s a lot of guys who got the golf bug and will be coming out for the team next year.
“Golf is a really hard sport to learn in a short amount of time. But it’s rewarding when we see kids who have never played and hit a good golf shot. You see their face when they hit it close to the pin. Ultimately that’s what we’re there to do, is to give kids a game to play and chance to really do the whole high school thing.”
But Kilpatrick also believes this season will provide motivation for his returning players, who will want to be more competitive with their peers in a year. Playing golf can be fun, but playing it well is even better.
“Nobody wants to go out and be the worst guy in his group,” Kilpatrick said. “We had a nice talk coming home from regionals about using the season at motivation to get out next summer as much as they can and improve.
“We want them to discover that joy that comes with hitting a great golf shot and being a golfer.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or email@example.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.