COLFAX — The Baxter golf programs are up and running.
There was a moment this offseason when head coach Zach Hasselbrink thought maybe they couldn’t do golf with the help of another school.
That is not the case right now. And Hasselbrink takes charge of both programs this season after coaching the CMB girls the past two seasons.
“It’s been kind of weird. We weren’t sure how it was going to work or where we were going to practice,” Hasselbrink said. “We got it put together and are able to do this sport on our own. We have enough boys and girls to do that.”
Where the team will practice and possibly play their home meets is the Colfax Country Club. The Bolts will share the course with Colfax-Mingo.
“We are thankful that the Colfax Country Club allows us to come here and practice,” Hasselbrink said. “(Coach) Nick (Noring) and I work really well together so I think it’s going to be a good fit for us.
“As long as we communicate, it will be fine. It helps that he teaches at Baxter so we see each other every day.”
This year’s Baxter girls’ roster includes five players.
The boys’ team features seven golfers but Hasselbrink is hoping to add an eighth before the season gets underway next week.
The girls should be led by sophomore Sadie Meyer, who averaged 62 on nine-hole courses last year. Her best nine-hole score was a 53. Her 18-hole average was a 121.33.
“She came on late last year. She started to figure things out,” Hasselbrink said. “She has a nice swing. She needs to show up to the course with confidence and wanting to be here. If those two things happen, she can usually shoot a nice score.”
The sport of golf has a mental side of it that’s unlike any other sport. And that’s something Hasselbrink is working on with his players this season.
“I am hoping she can be consistently in the 40-50s,” Hasselbrink said of Meyer. “Consistency is a big thing though. We had to get more consistent as a team.”
The other two returners are sophomore Abbey Shepley and junior Piper Larson.
Shepley averaged a 65 on nine-hole courses last year and her best nine-hole round was a 57. Larson averaged 70 in her nine-hole rounds and her best round was a 65.
Shepley, according to Hasselbrink, has a nice swing, but she needs to get over bad shots easier.
She’ll hit 10 good ones in a row. Then if there’s a bad one she gets down and has a hard time getting back up,” Hasselbrink said. “It’s a mental game that we battle every day in golf.”
Larson was the team’s No. 6 golfer a season ago but also ran on the CMB track team. She won’t be on the track this season, which should give Hasselbrink more time to work with her on the links.
“All three girls picked up a club for the first time last year. So they are still learning how to play,” Hasselbrink said.
The two newcomers to the team, and who are playing golf for the first time, are sophomore Mikayla McKnight and junior Gracie Beathards.
“We had to recruit some girls to get to a full roster, and Mikayla was one that stepped up,” Hasselbrink said. “She’s eager to learn and willing to be coached.
“Gracie will also play soccer. When we have her, we’ll coach her up and when she’s ready to play in a meet she’ll do that,” Hasselbrink said.
The entire boys’ roster as it sits right now is made up of mostly new players.
The only player back who played varsity last year was sophomore Shane Beougher, but he only played in one nine-hole meet and one 18-hole meet last season, shooting a 73 and a 153, respectively.
The only other returner so far is sophomore Christian Brandt. The boys’ roster also includes Andrew Klemme, Matthew Grimes, Sean Finch, Peyton Johnston and Seth Williams.
“Most of the kids haven’t ever picked up a club before so it’s like last year with the girls in a lot of ways,” Hasselbrink said. “There’s a lot of swing building these first few weeks. It won’t be perfect. We just want to get them in position to go on the course and score and contribute.”
The Baxter boys kicked off their season against Saydel on April 2 in Des Moines. Both teams play West Marshal at 4:15 p.m. on April 6 in State Center.
“It’s exciting to have enough kids to do this on our own,” Hasselbrink said. “We thought maybe that would be an issue, but it hasn’t been so far. Now it’s my job to get them ready and into meet shape by next week.”