BOONE – The Watauga County Schools Middle School golf team closed their inaugural season with a perfect 6-0 record. The team attended the Blue Ridge Middle School Athletic Conference, which includes five schools from Ashe and Wilkes counties.
Dr. Stephen Martin, who coached the team alongside his lead role as Assistant Superintendent of Watauga, said the team’s first season sparked great interest from students and parents from the start.
“Our first briefing, held in August, quickly filled with over 30 golfers and their parents who were interested in joining the team,” said Martin. “Assistant trainer Jeff Trexler and I were enthusiastic about the interest and have committed ourselves to find a way for every student to participate in the team. This year we had 32 golfers who were part of the team. “
Martin said the coaches enlisted the help of parents, sponsors and local golf courses to facilitate training and games for 32 golfers. Kim Simmons, a teacher at Hardin Park, joined the coaching staff alongside Martin and Trexler. Each week golfers had a day on the Mountaineer driving range and a day on a local golf course.
Martin said the team has received tremendous support from the local golf community.
“Our local golf courses, including Boone, Willow Valley, Lenoir and Sugar Mountain, have quickly teamed up with our team and given golfers time to practice the skills they learned on the range,” said Martin. “We are very grateful to these courses and the Mountaineer Driving Range for allowing us to use their facilities.”
Martin said the co-ed team consisted of golfers with a wide range of skills and abilities.
“There were golfers on the team who could shoot par on nine holes, while others had never swung a golf club. We worked to offer differentiated practices that would help seasoned players improve while providing basic instruction to new golfers, ”said Martin. “I am very grateful to Coach Trexler and Coach Simmons for their help. We also had parents who helped out with every training session and event, so this was definitely a shared experience for everyone. “
Martin said the team was able to provide equipment thanks to donations from parents, local golfers, grants, and other anonymous donations that helped provide golf clubs, golf balls, tees, golf shoes, uniforms, and training apparel.
The golf team was also sponsored by SkyLine / SkyBest, the Beech Mountain Men’s Golf Association, Willie Brooks BBQ and Ron Cutlip Golf Course Architect.