Thursday, April 17, 2014
   
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Mild weather helps golfers get jump on season

The Swede boys golf team has had a new luxury this spring that hasn’t happened in Gothenburg for quite some time.

They’ve been practicing outside.

Gothenburg golf coach Don Graham said the boys have had more than 10 practices on the course at Wild Horse Golf Club.

Swinging clubs outside has helped the 16 golfers get into the groove earlier this spring than it has in the past and mild weather only boosts the morale and the confidence, Graham said.

“I think we had 14 meets last year and I wore a stocking hat to at least 12 of them,” the coach said. “And I had it on the whole meet.”

Weather is certainly a bonus for the Swedes but experience will be the difference-maker, Graham said.

Gothenburg brings back six letter winners, four of whom are seniors who have spent plenty of time with clubs in hand.

“We’ve got good leadership,” Graham said. “There are a couple whose score I can pretty much count on every meet. We just need to get lower, more consistent scores out of our No. 3, 4 and 5 players.”

Graham, who also serves as the golf pro at Wild Horse, said he hopes to not only help improve each golfer’s swing but also the thinking part of the game.

“Golf is very much a mental game,” the coach said. “You have to think all the way through the hole and not let outside stuff affect you. Everyone wants to make that ‘hero shot’ but 99% of the time that’s not going to happen so you have to think about what the next shot will be. They’re learning.”

The Swedes open the season with the North Platte Invite at Iron Eagle on Friday.

“Last year, we only had one nine-hole round of outdoor practice before the first meet,” Graham said. “This year we’re taking every opportunity to go outside and hit balls. I have a little better idea what to expect this year but we’re talking about high schoolers. They will surprise you at every turn.”

Class B will be a difficult field all the way through the season, Graham predicts, especially in the B-4 district with perennial power houses Scottsbluff and McCook garnering a lot of attention.

“Those teams seem to reload year after year,” he said, “but golf is such a fickle game. I’m going to pay more attention to what our team is doing and not so much to what other teams have got.”

He expects the Southwest Conference to be fairly even.

“On any given day, any of those teams could do OK,” he said. “We need two or three kids to step up so we can drop our team score to 320 or so. Then maybe we can sneak in and steal a spot for the team at state.”

Members of the 2012 Swede boys golf team are (*denotes letter winner):

SENIORS—Jackson Graham*, Dillon Linegar*, Alix Meisinger*, Cale Moore, Jeramie VanAcker*.

JUNIOR—Cody Cooper.

SOPHOMORES—Drake Brand, Michael Goad, Nate Graham*, Eric Linnemeyer, Trenton Long*, Brett Mann, Adam Speck.

FRESHMEN—Archer Jensen, Dalton Sylvan, Zach Wolf.

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