New golf coaches lead team to league championships


Jaime Hum-Nishikado
Sports Editor

New coaches have implemented a conditioning regimen that has the golf team playing an undefeated season and winning the Bay Counties League, giving them a crack at North Coast Section championships.

“The new conditioning program is great,” sophomore Isabella Coolins, who is returning to the golf team for her second year, said. “At first we were all a little hesitant to the new change because golf never required conditioning before, but in the end it’s helping us strengthen our core and the rest of our game by doing these exercises.”

Although math teacher Jordan Lewis and facility manager Geoff De Santis have played the game and have studied the techniques, this is their first time coaching.

“I get pumped at the start of each week because I know we have a match coming up,” De Santis said. “The girls are amazing to work with because they are always looking to improve. It has taken me 16 years to realize I can’t play the sport, but I can coach it.”

Lewis and De Santis are breaking the stereotype that golf does not involve athletically demanding exercises by creating and making their athletes do conditioning workouts.

“We do a lot of core training and strength training in our legs and arms,” Lewis said. “We rotate between running, squats, lunges, planks and arm strengthening with bands.”

Lewis, who has played golf for 16 years, approached athletic director Elena De Santis about being involved with the golf team.

“I was planning on coaching basketball again,” Lewis said, “but I really wanted to be involved with the golf team in any way that I could. Luckily there was an opening.”

Lewis and Geoff De Santis say they prepared for coaching the season weeks before by studying the techniques of golf to help their players improve their game.

“The first thing I did was go out and read every golf book I could find,” Lewis said. “I watched YouTube video after YouTube video of golf swings and went to the range several times. It gave me a great excuse to golf as much as possible.”

While on the golf course, the team gets a passive workout from walking hole-to-hole.

“Contrary to what many believe, we do not ride in golf carts,” De Santis said. “The girls are walking the course with their bags. Even though this takes a lot of energy, we are in good shape, and this will make our performance on the court much stronger.”

The golf team alternates between playing nine holes once a week at the Presidio Golf Club, and hitting at the driving range and putting, according to captain Anna Lyons.

“One of the major team goals this season is to qualify for NCS as a team,” Lyons said. “Also, we are working on lowering our scores individually by practicing our swings and putting.”

De Santis says the coaches have thought of ways to have the team work as one unit, despite golf being an individual sport.

“Having your teammates support by cheering for you can really push you through a tough hole,” De Santis said. “We have very good golfers, and I know with the continued hard work the girls are putting in, we will attain our goals.”

The league tournament is Thursday, with the winner of the tournament earning an automatic invitation to NCS on Oct. 21 in McKinleyville.

“We plan on having normal practice this week and next week,” Lewis said. “But we are adding in a few more practice rounds so we can get some course experience and be fully prepared going into this tournament.”