In sports, there’s always a winner and a loser. That’s why sports are so popular at all different levels of competition, the end result is always the same. Part of the fun is the journey toward victory, and unfortunately, in some cases a team or athlete must learn how to lose before they can really win.
The Milford Bucs’ golf team fell to 0-9 on the season on Thursday, falling to powerhouse Caesar Rodney 170-192. It’s no secret the Bucs have struggled this season. However, looking at only the results of their match ups this season won’t tell the whole story.
While having a number of seniors on a team is usually a sign of consistency and strength, it’s not always the case when it comes to a high school golf team. The Bucs have mix of seniors and underclassmen, all with different levels of experience on the links. And while the team has yet to find the win column, Milford head coach Jesse Parsley believes he’s seen growth within his team.
While growth in other sports can mean something very different, growth in one’s golf game can be a frustrating battle for consistency and comfort.
“We have struggled in the win-loss column this year, but I have seen significant growth in our players,” said Parsley. “ One of the most difficult things in this sport is consistency, and with young golfers it’s really evident.”
Most of the players on Milford have just a year or two of experience playing on regulation-size courses. Right now, the goal is to minimize the mistakes on the course that turn a solid outing into an average or below-average one.
“Most of our team is relatively new to the game. If each (player) could minimize the number of strokes on that one really bad hole, their scores would drop drastically,” said Parsley. “For example, on Tuesday a golfer shot a 52 but had a 12 on one hole. Imagine if he reduced that to an 8, he shoots a 48. And if every player on the team does that, our record is the complete opposite this year. Again, that’s a large part of the process for athletes new to the game.”
While Parsley has seen improvement up and down the roster this season, three seniors Brice Short, Martin Coverdale, and Joe Burrow have been the standouts. They’ve reached that status by practicing what their coach preaches by putting the extra work in to improve.
“Brice and Joe have spent a large amount of time on the weekends hitting balls on the range and playing daily,” said Parsley. “Not just hitting balls, but working on specific shots and club selection.”
Parsley is hoping his message will help the growth of the program at Milford, and even with an 0-9 record the Bucs have been within striking distance of nearly every opponent they’ve faced.
And if they hope to turn those losses into victories, Parsley believes his team must make the most of their practice time and learning from one another.
“One of the things our younger players need to think about is making the most of the range and working on being better ball strikers,” said Parsley. “That will be the quickest way for them to become more consistent.”
“Brice is very aware of his surroundings, wind condition, ball location, pin placement, etc.,” Parsley said. “And if the younger guys would pick up on it, they would see a big change in their scores.”