Golfers want to do more than just putt along

POULSBO — Last year wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t an anomaly. But it might have been the beginning of a dynasty.

POULSBO — Last year wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t an anomaly. But it might have been the beginning of a dynasty.

That’s what the North Kitsap girls golf team wants to prove to the rest of the Narrows League this season.

Head Coach Brian Bignold, whose Vikings earned a 6-3 record last year despite it being the first-ever season for girls golf at NKHS, thinks it could happen.

“They’re on the brink,” Bignold said.

Last year, Bignold coached an athletic, quick-learning team filled with soccer players.

While many of the same players return, there is also the addition of a half-dozen freshman and sophomores.

Bignold believes that trend is good for the present and future of the program.

“I’m trying to create golfers,” he said.

Allie Gillespie, a senior who golfed last year during the Vikings’ debut season, said the youthful talent has made for fun and competitive practices.

“This year, it’s anyone’s game,” Gillespie said. “We have a lot of talent, a lot of natural athletic ability.”

So far, the Vikings have used both to their advantage, going 2-0 in the first two matches of the season.

They defeated Shelton 90-27 and Olympic 74-37.

“We’re a lot more confident, instead of going out on a limb each time, or doing well one day and not so well the next,” said Chelsie O’Neill-Dewing, another returning senior and soccer teammate of Gillespie.

Word of the team’s attitude and success is spreading.

Ellie Piper said she couldn’t resist trying out for the team this season.

“It seemed like everyone was having so much fun,” Piper said.

Piper said she was startled by the talent level.

“It’s a little intimidating, but it pushes you to do better,” she said.

The team has had early success, but it also has plenty to work on.

When asked what that is, Bignold replied, “Putting, putting and putting.”

He paused.

“Make that short game, short game, short game,” he said.

Even if the team improves in practices, more hurdles lie in the road.

Bignold is frustrated that the golfers can work on their driving (at the Kingston driving range) or their short game (at Meadowmeer Golf and Country Club) but not both at the same time.

The team will also have to push itself quite a bit to overcome the formidable talent in the Narrows League.

In the Vikings’ Bridge Division, South Kitsap finished seventh in state and Gig Harbor took second. In the Bay Division of the league, Bellarmine Prep was third.

Bignold has those finishes committed to memory.

This year, he hopes the Vikings will be equally etched in their opponents’ minds.

“I know what’s out there; I know what they’re capable of accomplishing. There’s no limit,” he said.