COLUMBIA — In a sport where important business contacts are made, huge deals are brokered, and pilgrimages are made to places like St. Andrew’s, Augusta and Pebble Beach, it is advantageous to get an early start playing.
The Rock Bridge boys’ golf team gives young players exactly the opportunity needed to learn and improve swings that may never be forgotten.
Sophomores Eric Martin and Josh Litofsky both got early starts in life, beginning their golfing careers before even joining the high school team. Litofsky was introduced to the game through his grandfather.
“What keeps me playing is the feeling when you hit a good shot,” Litofsky said, “but it’s not as fun as it could be when you hit a bad shot.”
Martin enjoys the challenge of always trying to score lower and the unique experience a golfer gets each and every time they go out on the course.
So far this season, getting practice in at L. A. Nickell Golf Course has been a challenge because of the weather. All the team has had time to do is play a few practice rounds on the course, where team members have been taking scores and playing for spots on the varsity and junior varsity squads in tournament play.
Coach Doug Daniels said he would like to have time to practice only par-3’s, taking the drivers out of the game. Additionally, he would like to have his team practice teeing off with 5-irons to lengthen the course. However, these are luxuries his team has not been afforded yet.
He did say that players typically won’t get much better during the season. The time to get better and improve on fundamentals is during the off-season, where the truly great players push themselves harder than anyone else. Golf is similar to other team-oriented sports, where once the games or tournaments start, the time to get better has passed.
“The good thing about golf is that it is up to you to get better,” Daniels said, “but the bad thing is that is up to you to get better.
“Golf is an individual sport that you have to commit totally to if you want to be good.”
Rock Bridge will continue its season with scheduled appearances Monday morning at the Smith Cotton Classic in Sedalia and at Thursday’s William Woods Invitational.±