SPORTS: Girls Golf drives towards the future

Said to be scored once in every 3,500 rounds, your odds of achieving a hole-in-one are slim. However, senior and varsity player on Plainfield East High School’s girls golf team, Gianna D’amico, accomplished just that.

“It felt really good because I was playing bad beforehand, and my parents decided to show up like as soon as I hit my shot. It was awesome. I heard my parents screaming and stuff. I was like ‘No way,’ if they weren’t there I wouldn’t have realized that it went in,” D’amico said.

D’amico had a score of 88 on an 18 hole course at Whitetail Ridge at the start of the golf season, which is her best 18 hole score so far.

In terms of what led to this success, D’amico said, “I started off with a positive mindset, and I didn’t let negativity carry on through all the holes.”

Similar to the positivity concept, golf is also a lasting sport that does not fade with adulthood.

Varsity girls golf coach, Club W.E. sponsor, and social studies teacher, Erin McGinnis said, “It’s a lifelong sport, so you may have one bad day now as a teenager, and it’s not the end of the world. That is something that’s hard to remember when you’re having a bad day on the golf course.”

McGinnis went to state for golf  in 2009 when she was in high school, and she has been playing golf since she was 5 or 6.

It was McGinnis’ experiences that led to her career as a coach.

“If I’m going to coach something, I want to really love it. I had a great experience on my high school golf team, and I wanted to bring that to my own team. Also to continue some traditions my coach did for us, like goody bags for conference. I’ve liked being able to be a presence in the building in a sport that I truly care about,” McGinnis said.

For D’amico, golf also has a special quality to it. 

D’amico said, “I really like the comradery of everyone on the team. I love my coach, she’s awesome. I love being able to play after school. It’s really relaxing seeing all the nature.”

It is important to golfers to apply lessons learned in golfing to other aspects of the world

“Knowing this skill is going to take you places, you can go to golf outings in the future if you’re in business. Just knowing there are ups and downs involved, like there are in life. I think it’s a really good metaphor to remember,” McGinnis said.

On Plainfield East High School’s girls golf team, the team dynamic is crucial to success and improvement.

“Everyone pushes each other. We always want to beat each other’s scores, so I feel like we push each other a lot,” D’amico said.

The coaches also help in terms of improvement.

“Looking forward to next season, a lot of what we do is encouraging them to practice in the off-season. I’ll be encouraging them to do that, whether that be at the Mistwood Dome or something like that over summer. I would like to make myself available for minigolf outings for us to play together,” McGinnis said.

Other than practicing to improve, the girls golf team had a fundraiser over the previous year to invest in new drills and tools.

Besides improvement in the game, golf also helps self-improvement.

“It teaches you about honor. There’s a certain level of trust that I have with my team, for them to keep themselves honest. You learn how to work with others, you learn how to compete and socialize with others for two hours at a time,” McGinnis said.

This socialization leads to a feeling of team bonding and closeness as well.

“I really like my team, just because we get to see each other outside of golf, and we are all super close, everyone on varsity for sure,” D’amico said.

Overall, the girls golf team is open to everyone regardless of level in golf.

McGinnis said, “We take anyone with experience or without experience, we’re a really welcoming team.”

“Anybody can do it, many people start off playing golf in their high school career. It’s not an easy sport, but you can really get into it if you want to,” D’amico said.