Golf is easily a summer sport. The only problem is that in Colorado, there is no summer athletics season.
So the best time for the boys who compete in the fall and the girls who compete in the spring to get their work in is during the dog days.
“My players and up and coming players, I see them out there almost every day,” Discovery Canyon boys golf coach Mark Liggett said.
It paid off for the Thunder 2016. The boys came away with the Class 4A boys team title. Junior Luke Trujillo made it a clean sweep as he brought home an individual championship.
It was the first overall team championship in school history and with Trujillo and Caleb Blackburn returning in 2017, Liggett sees a team already making plans at defending that championship.
"They’re out there practicing hard and hitting them every day," Liggett said. "The other guys coming up beneath them, they’re out there hitting all the time. They’re playing in a camp we have going here at Flying Horse pretty soon. They’re all looking forward to coming in and keep up with what’s going on.”
It's a common theme amongst young athletes. Those who are the best are putting in the time when they don't have to. But it's important to remember that since they're kids, there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to their competitive desires.
“I wouldn’t say I play every day because I want to," Trujillo said. "I play every day because I have nothing else to do. But at the same time, it makes the summer more memorable, playing with your friends going to other places and being able to play with my dad and my brother."
The kids are still just that: kids. And golf is a fun summer activity, especially in Colorado. Courses spend a lot of time and a lot money getting fairways and greens into top shape.
And these high school kids, they just get to soak in the benefits of spending time outside, both enjoying themselves and trying to hone their craft.
From a coach's standpoint, the fun part tends to become the most essential component of summer golf.
“That’s kind of what we want anyways; we want them to enjoy the summer," Cheyenne Mountain coach John Carricato said. "They can work at it still, but they should enjoy great golf courses and people.”
From August to late September, the coaches demand so much from their athletes. They want each kid to put together their best 18 holes each time they go out to represent their schools.
For the kids, there's an element of decreased stress when they're away from the school programs. Their ability to take advantage of those situations tend to help them shift into competitive mode in the fall.
"I’m playing with friends all the time," Trujillo said. "I can go out today and play poorly and it’s not going to affect anything. I don’t have to get mad at a bad shot or a bad round. When you go out to individual tournaments, you don’t have a team so you’re a little more relaxed and enjoying the summer.”
Trujillo says he doesn't have to get mad at a bad shot or a bad round, but the mindset of a competitive golfer will always dictate otherwise.
An errant shot will always be met with the wonder of why and how it happened. If the circumstances are identified then an adjustment will be made to correct it.
It's something the weekend warrior does at local municipal course.
Players who are vying for championships and the potential opportunity to compete in the sport after their high school careers are over, are no different.
“You always want to play well," Trujillo said. "There’s never a time where you are okay with playing bad. You’re always going to be upset. Of course you want to get better when you’re hitting balls on the range. If you shank something you’re going to fix it. You can get frustrated, get a little help and get back out there. There’s always that drive to get better.”
For the high school golfer, there is no better time than the summer. There are no classes or exams. There aren't pressing homework assignments or five-page essays to be completed.
There are only fairways, greens, bunkers and water hazards. The only thing they need to worry about is what the next shot has in store for them.