The Calaveras High School golf team is already off to a better start than last year. Unlike last season, Calaveras has a place to call home. In late 2017, La Contenta Golf Club shut its doors, which left Calaveras homeless.
After being forced to play the first portion of the season on the road, La Contenta reopened and Calaveras, once again, had a home course. Now, one year later, Calaveras has been able to practice at a real course from the beginning and is able to get to know its home links.
“It’s great to be back,” said Calaveras head coach Rick Behler. “The people at La Contenta are great to us. It really helps us. We can hit balls, chip, putt and get out on the course.”
With no worry about finding a place to play, Behler can focus on coaching. And he has a lot of coaching to do. Calaveras’ roster is made up of golfers who, for the most part, have never played a round of golf. Behler feels his program is starting from the very first tee.
“We don’t just have a young squad, but one that is brand new to golf.” he said. “We are just going to try to learn the game and get the kids to enjoy the game of golf. Hopefully, we’ll be able to improve and next year, with most of them back, we’ll be better.”
With such a young team, accumulating as many hours possible on the course is a necessity. Unfortunately for Behler, the harsh winter weather has made practicing much more difficult.
“We need to get as much time as we can hitting balls and getting out on the course,” Behler said. “Because they are so raw, we are trying to teach them swings, etiquette and rules. Unless you get on the golf course, you are not going to be able to visualize a rule and understand what you are going to have to do. The weather is making it difficult for us, but every team has that problem.”
Calaveras’ main two golfers are sophomore Logan Salemme and freshman Hannah Smith. Because Calaveras has no girls’ team, all girls are able to play golf in the spring. There are currently two girls on the roster.
“It’s just a golf team, that’s what we’ve got right now,” Behler said. “It’s not a boys’ team. It’s not a girls’ team. Anyone can come out for our golf team and play.”
Behler isn’t expecting greatness right away. But what he is looking for is a commitment to learn and understand the sport and the winning will soon follow.
“What we want to do is find out if they are going to be committed and come out regularly,” Behler said. “That’s how you get better. Nobody gets better without hitting balls.”