Golf squad set to begin season


Abby Turner, Editor of 4E Voices

Gearing up for season, the varsity golf teams are anticipating success this year. Not only do they have a great squad ready, including junior Carson Rainbolt and senior Faith Hopkins, but a talented coaching staff as well, including Coach Jeff Rude.

  Coach Rude is looking forward to the upcoming season with the varsity boys. With 22 years of experience as a golf coach, he knows how to lead his team to victory. Victory comes through hard work and mastering techniques is a high priority.

   “We try and work on all parts of our game,” Rude said. “Putting and short game is the one part that will save you or cost your strokes during a round of golf, so we try and make sure that we spend a little extra time on that.”

  Rainbolt trusts his coach and knows that these techniques will help the team achieve their goals.

  “Coach Rude expects us to give it our all every day in practice and represent Bartlesville in everything that we do, on or off the course,” Rainbolt said. “He doesn’t ask much but I can speak for the team when I say that we wear our Bruin blue proudly.”
  After the boys missed qualifying for state last year, Rainbolt has high hopes for his team this year.

  “This season we are looking to start the season off hot,” Rainbolt said. “The last few years we’ve started slow and gotten better with more tournaments. This year we’re looking to pick up right where we left off last season on a nice run. Last season we won a couple of tournaments so I think we need to keep pushing that trend in the right direction and add a couple of trophies to our collection.”

   While the boys were unsuccessful in qualifying for state, Hopkins qualified last year and ended up tying for fifth place. Hopkins has had an extremely successful golf career thus far, last year especially. She won the Class 6A state preview tournament, the Owasso Invitational and the 6A East Regional Tournament at Broken Arrow. Hopkins also finished third at the AJGA Junior at Oaktree this past September. While fifth place at state seems impressive to most, Hopkins knows her strengths and believes that she can do better.

  “This season, I am looking to prepare better than I ever had before so I know that when tournament season comes around I will be ready to face the challenges that arise,” Hopkins said.  “Last season, I began to play some really good golf but lack of preparation became evident in pressure situation. I believe that last year I had the talent to win the state tournament, but I fell short because I was not mentally prepared to win. I know that by the time state comes to our home course in May, I will be ready and prepared”

  Even when players are prepared, sometimes their game can be thrown off for a variety of reasons. If that happens though, keeping a positive attitude is not only crucial to the player, but to their team as well.

  “When a tournament round is not going the way I would like it to, I just slow down and play for my teammates,” Rainbolt said. “I know the team is counting on every single one of us so I just try my best for the guys.”

  Pressure can come at athletes from every direction and can impact their game, but the game of golf can be more forgiving than it seems.

  “The game of golf is full of ups and downs. I know that one poor shot will not determine the outcome of my round,” Hopkins said. “This concept is hard to get a grasp on for most golfers, but as I have gained more experience I have a better understanding of how to mentally prepare for the less than ideal situations that may arise.”

        Hopkins signed with Oklahoma State University to continue golfing competitively through college. Before she golfs as a cowgirl though, she has a goal to make an impact on her squad during her final season as a bruin.

“I want to inspire them to be better golfers of course, but more than that I have enjoyed building close connections with each one of my teammates, Hopkins said. “I want them to know that they can come to me when they need help or something is wrong and I will be there for them”

   In her years of experience, Hopkins knows that the value of teamwork is the highest priority, even in a solo sport. She wants her teammates to succeed as much as she has.

  “I also want them to know that they can come to me when things are going great and I will be there to celebrate with them,” Hopkins said. “Golf is usually an individual sport, but our high school team is a close knit group of great girls who constantly push each other to better themselves on and off of the golf course.”

  With preparation, teamwork and dedication, varsity golf squad is seemingly headed for an incredibly successful season. Tournaments for the team begin in early March and continue until May.