It’s a simple game, right?
In a matter of three or four basic steps, the objective on the golf course is to put the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.
But what happens before your club hits the ball?
And what goes through the players’ minds after they hit each shot?
Such factors are absolutely essential if a player wants to post a low score.
"Ninety-five percent of the time, you’re not swinging a club," ninth-year Aurora head girls golf coach Noah Goodman said. "It’s the walk between each shot and how you maximize the time. A lot of that comes from being mentally tough."
With those things in mind, Goodman wants his players to reach their full potential. What happens when the club is not in his players’ hands will be pivotal to the Lady Greenmen’s success.
"We’re working on the mental game," Goodman said. "The in-round focus is what we really need to work on."
Don’t scold yourself if you’re not able to recognize a number of Aurora’s players.
That’s because the Lady Greenmen lost four key players from last year.
Thanks mainly to the contributions of Kenzie Myers, Skylar Banbury, Carolyn Hurley and Devon Banbury, Aurora finished 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the Suburban League American Conference in 2017.
However, Myers, who was the team’s top player last year, Skylar Banbury and Hurley graduated in the spring and Devon Banbury is now playing golf for a boarding school in Orlando.
"There are definitely a lot of new faces," Goodman said. "There will be an adjustment and growth period. There is a lot of unknown."
Fortunately for Goodman, the Lady Greenmen aren’t completely different from the squad that teed it up last fall.
Aurora, which finished third in the American Conference last season, has two varsity players back in the mix. They are senior Julia McGarry and junior Olivia Traci. Both players had a nine-hole scoring average in the mid-40s in 2017.
"We’re looking for Julia and Olivia to anchor our team," Goodman said.
Junior Grace Caffoe contributed for both the varsity and junior varsity teams last season. She is expected to be a mainstay on the varsity squad this fall.
Two talented freshmen expect to make an impact right away, according to Goodman. They are Anjali Mishra and Emily Pierce.
Mishra is part of a national program in Cleveland called the First Tee Junior Tour.
"Anjali is one of the most experienced freshmen we’ve had in awhile," Goodman said. "Emily played in some local tournaments this summer."
Other players who expect to be in the varsity lineup are juniors Olivia Vagasky and Molly Russell, a first-year player, and sophomore Coryn Hegele.
"There will be some mixing and matching," Goodman said. "We’re going to try to find out what clicks. I’m looking forward to the challenge."
The junior varsity coach is Tim Baczkowski, who enters his fourth year with the team.
Anyone can post a stellar score or two if the stakes aren’t necessarily high. Playing competitively for a high school team, on the other hand, is another story.
"It’s a little different from playing with your family," Goodman said. "They will have to get used to tournament settings.
"There were times in practice when we saw shots that were spot on. The main thing is to do it consistently."
Last year, Theodore Roosevelt won the conference title. Highland was the conference runner-up.
"The conference trend should continue," Goodman said. "It’s between Kent and Highland. Kent has a well-developed program."
The Lady Greenmen are scheduled to make their 2018 debut at the Roosevelt Lady Rough Rider Invitational Saturday at The Fairways at Twin Lakes in Kent. Play is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.
"We’re looking forward to growing as individuals and also as a team," Goodman said. "We want to peak at the right time. Our ultimate goal is to get out of sectionals."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.