Young golf squad starts well, remains competitive

The Newtonite

by Ryan Condon
For golf, 5-3, this season is all about letting younger players gain experience and knowledge, while still retaining a competitive level of play, according to coach Bob MacDougall.
“This year is going to be a challenging one, as we have many young and inexperienced players who weren’t here last year and aren’t really comfortable with this level of golf,” MacDougall said.
Early in the season, the team will focus on building its comfort level while playing varsity golf, MacDougall said.
Only four players on the squad are returning from last year: senior Jeff Howard, juniors Brendan Ryan and Mark Vrahas, and sophomore Charlie Goldberg. With Goldberg, Howard and Ryan as co-captains this season, MacDougall said he is relying on these veterans to provide leadership for the younger players.
According to Howard, the team has “less experience” than in the past years.
“Still, the younger players are adapting well,” he said.
MacDougall said that last year, the team was very familiar with the courses used throughout the league last year, which was an important advantage.
Because the team is less familiar with the courses this year, it needs to work harder on building its knowledge of them, he said.
Even with all of the inexperienced young players on this year’s squad, MacDougall said he expects for the team to remain competitive.
Later in the season, MacDougall said the team’s goal is to qualify for the State Championship, and “hopefully we’ll be in contention for the league championship,” he said.
MacDougall said that last year the team was inconsistent at times but could rely on its being a good team. “This year, we can’t do that,” he said. “With only four players left from last year, we’re going to have to work really hard in order to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to play varsity golf.”
The Tigers will travel to Wellesley Monday, a match MacDougall said he expects to be “very competitive, as Wellesley is one of the top teams in our league.”
Tuesday, the team will host Framingham.  MacDougall said, “I expect us to play well, as Framingham is having a down year.  However, we still need to compete and play consistently, as I don’t think we are the type of team that can show up expecting to win against anyone.”