Viking girls golf brings batch of rookies into the game in ‘07

POULSBO — The game of golf is considered one of the most intricate, delicate and difficult sports to master. And while some struggle to fully achieve the skills in a lifetime, North Kitsap High School girls golf coach Jay DeVries is aiming to lay a foundation for this year’s Vikings in about two weeks.

POULSBO — The game of golf is considered one of the most intricate, delicate and difficult sports to master. And while some struggle to fully achieve the skills in a lifetime, North Kitsap High School girls golf coach Jay DeVries is aiming to lay a foundation for this year’s Vikings in about two weeks.

The 2007 NK Viking girls golf squad is as green as it comes with only two returners — sophomores from last year’s squad — matched with two new sophomores and two incoming freshmen — some of whom will be hitting the links, in earnest, for the first time ever.

“They might have swung a club, they might have played golf before, but they don’t know what to do when they hit the ball out of bounds, or what the rule is when you whiff a shot,” DeVries said.

Therefore, for the first three days of official practice — which began for all NK spring sports Monday — the Vikings have been rooted in a classroom, learning about the game.

“With the awesome weather we’ve had, we’ve done a lot of rule intro,” DeVries said, noting Wednesday’s storm which kept the Vikings away from their first scheduled trip to the links. “We’re going to start really small and work our way up from there.”

Hayleigh Wuensch and Megan Mitchell — the team’s two returners from 2006 — will serve as the Vikings’ base, DeVries said.

Last year, Wuensch and Mitchell were on the other end of the spectrum, taking notes from then-seniors Miquela Pendleton and Alicia Bratlien — who finished their NKHS golfing careers on the state links.

Following a light off season regimen, this year’s Vikings will begin their quest on the practice green.

“They are green … every single one of them,” DeVries noted the 2007 squad’s inexperience. “I try to focus more on success, more so making it as easy as I can for them to realize that they are successful.”

Whether the individual improvement comes in the form of blasting a drive 20 yards in the air instead of whacking a ground ball or in decreasing from 10 strokes down to nine on a particular hole, DeVries noted the importance of consistent positive benchmarks in order to keep frustration as far away as possible while the players learn the game.

“It depends on who the girl is, but majority, it’s easier to teach the game to someone who doesn’t know anything because they don’t have any preconceived notions of what they’re supposed to do,” DeVries said.

The Vikings teed up for the first time Thursday at the Kingston driving range, while they took their first collective steps on the course at Bainbridge’s Meadowmeer Country Club Friday.

For the first time in a long time for NK golf, the 2007 Vikings may not have to travel daily over the Agate Bridge for practice. With the White Horse Golf Course — located off South Kingston Road in Indianola — expected to open in late April, the Vikes should be able to use that track for practice, DeVries said.

However, all of the team’s home meets are currently scheduled at Meadowmeer. North is set to begin its season at the Island country club at 3:15 p.m., March 8 as it hosts Mount Tahoma.

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