Boys golf season gets fall sports competitions rolling early

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

By the time the calendar turns to August, athletes and coaches are getting anxious. The anxiousness for the boys golfers ended with the start of fall practice on Monday. Competitions are set to begin on Thursday marking the official start of the 2019-20 athletic season.

The start of the boys golf season is always unique in that it happens a week earlier than every other fall sport. A bunch of factors tend to tie into that reason, but both coaches and players alike don't mind hitting the range and getting things underway as soon as they can.

If anything, it seems normal.

"As a kid growing up in Colorado, who played high school golf, I've never thought anything about it," Fossil Ridge coach Andy Stevens said. "It's always been this way. Boys golf has always been the first sport of the fall season."

If it's okay for golf to get going, it begs the question as to why other outdoor focused sports aren't starting practices and competition on a similar schedule. Why not get cross country, field hockey, boys soccer or football going as well?

It could have to do with the maintenance of the courses among other factors. Getting the kids on the tee boxes early can give them a chance to play some of the top courses while they are in the best shape.

"It's cool to be able to come out and play in August when the golf courses are in their best shape," Cheyenne Mountain coach John Carricato said. "The weather is usually pretty good so that's all what makes it special."

As far as the weather being ideal, it's no secret that things can go south for the boys and the girls when it comes to golf and state championships. The girls tournaments were confined to just one day each this spring and two years ago, conditions were far from ideal when the boys tournaments were being played in the fall.

But that's not the primary reason that the season starts so soon.

"Not after what the girls go through in the spring," Carricato added.

For the players, the start of golf practice often predates the start of the school year. For the athletes that compete on the golf teams, it's not orientation or the first day of school when classmates are able to gather and catch up over their summers. They usually do it on the driving range hitting high cuts or baby draws with their mid-irons.

4A boys state golf Micah Strangbye Montrose

(Kelsey Lowry/CHSAANow.com)

"Today we had tryouts and we're two weeks outside of actual school starting so it's kind of weird," defending Class 4A champion Micah Stangebye said. "It's weird preparing for a high school sport when school is still several weeks out. I think we even play three events before school starts."

He added that the big benefit there is competing in tournaments without having to miss class, another plus in the minds of coaches and especially teachers.

Perhaps the final benefit of the timing of boys golf season is the time in which the boys have already been competing over the summer. Three months of sunshine and blue sikes allows the kids to get out and play as many rounds as time allows them.

For those competing on their high school teams, it's often encouraged that they get out and play the game to some degree.

"Our big push for our players is give them as many competitive playing opportunities as we can wherever that may be," Stevens said. "It can be at the local level, it can be at the state level with (the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado) or like in years past when we've had big-time talents they can play nationally."

It worked last year for Dillon Stewart. And Stangebye is one of many players who hope it works this year. Stangebye and several other high school players competed on the JGAC Tour this summer and are hoping to ride that momentum into the fall of 2019.

"With me traveling a lot, my game has stayed right where it should be with me playing almost every week," Stangebye said. "Our whole team has been out here grinding even without starting school."