Inside Comments: Steve Turcotte

College coaching gig still a thrill and a challenge as the second season wraps up

I have helped coach my daughter Rebecca’s golf team at Sumner High School. I have worked with junior players at Twin Lakes, I have helped friends who needed some tweaking with their swings.

But coaching the Highline College Women’s Golf Team has been everything that I had hoped for and then some. As the second year came to a close last month with our conference tournament at the Home Course in DuPont, Wash. I have learned plenty about coaching, relationships, counseling and, of course, paperwork.

On the course, it has been another season of learning and improvement for sophomores Jasmine Hansgen, Hailey Johnson, Megan Martin and freshman Mikayla Kato and Ruby Lampkey. In our case, we only get the players for two years so the sophomores will graduate and the freshman will be back for one last year.

Our college season is broken up into two parts–we have a fall season and a spring season. The fall season had three tournaments on the schedule while there were seven tournaments in the spring. We had road trips to Idaho, Spokane, Tri Cities, Walla Walla and even Bandon. Our girls got a taste of what some of the best golf courses in the world looked like. And along the way had two days of great weather. Of course when the coach played a practice round, the coach and the assistant coach were dumped on with rain and hail. Figures.

When we started this program with one player two years ago, we knew it would be a long road to get where we wanted to be. But the girls all showed improvement in the swings and scores, a girl who struggled to get out a of a bunker made it look easy toward the end of the season, a girl who couldn’t make a two-foot putt suddenly started rolling them in and another who couldn’t find a fairway hardly missed any down the stretch in the spring.

I would like to take all the credit, but these ladies worked hard for months and by playing in so many two-day tournaments, learned what it was to play like under some pressure.

The scores for the season were all over the map. We saw an 84 one tournament and then nothing better than a 95 in another. One girl shot a 109 during the first round of a tournament and then came back with an 80 – a 29-stroke difference in the span of 24 hours. We saw hooks, slices, tops, shots that went out of bounds, shots that went into lakes and ponds and we even saw a ball get stuck in the trees.

But through it all, Highline College Women’s Golf team got better. The ladies learned to play through disappointment and even learned to deal with their coach’s loud voice during tournaments. The other thing that was different was becoming a shoulder to lean on when times were tough. One tournament we had three different ladies tear up for various reasons. I listened, gave them a pep talk and hoped that would work.

I have to wear several hats with the team, but I like them all. It has been a great experience, and hopefully one that will get even better as we go along.