Steamboat Springs High School golf team learns from last season |

Steamboat Springs High School golf team learns from last season

Luke Graham

Casey Weston, from left, Andrew Firestone, Erik Sobeck and Brandon Martin have been keys in helping the Steamboat Springs High School golf team win four of five tournaments this season.

— Erik Sobeck remembers the feeling.

Golf can be a sobering and somber game. As he walked off the Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor at the state tournament last season, Sobeck didn't like the feeling.

He'd just come off a two-day total of 166 — including an 87 the second day — putting him in 63rd.

"The second day of state was a wake-up call that it's not going to come easy every day," he said. "You have to work on it. The game isn't going to just come to you. I was frustrated too because I could have been a lot better there. I knew I had to work harder."

The moment was not only one of realization for Sobeck, but also served as a reminder for the entire Steamboat Springs High School golf team.

The team was grossly inexperienced last year. It featured a sophomore, two freshmen and a senior.

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"We just had a meltdown at regionals," coach Steve Dodson said. "They came into this year with something to prove. It was kind of payback time."

And where Sobeck's frustration ended, the 2012 season began. Along with Brandon Martin, Casey Weston and Andrew Firestone, the team has turned the inexperience and disappointment into something else.

The four have been pivotal in guiding Steamboat to wins in four of its first five tournaments of the season.

Martin has won a tournament, and Sobeck has finished on top twice this season.

"We've had the benefit of last year of taking two freshmen and a sophomore to regionals," Dodson said. "That helps them. I knew we'd have a strong team this year. It's a nice mix of youth and maturity."

The team certainly has made itself known on the Western Slope.

It's traditionally been a battle with Steamboat, Montrose and Cortez at the regional tournament. In addition, Rifle looks to be a player this year based on its win Friday at its home tournament.

But Steamboat's been the most consistent team. It has beat each of the three contenders this year on a regular basis.

That success started last year with Sobeck's disappointment. Martin and Sobeck spent the winter hitting balls inside at Haymaker Golf Course, and Sobeck estimates the four played at least "six to seven times a week" this summer.

"I think a lot of (the turnaround) is experience," Sobeck said. "We were rookies to the stage. Now we've played in a couple tournaments."

This week should be a good indicator of exactly where the team stands. Steamboat travels Wednesday to Conquistador Golf Club in Cortez for a tournament. It will be the same course where the regional tournament will be played in September.

It should also draw a deep field with most — if not all — of the teams that will compete at regionals.

"I just try to pace ourselves so that we're ready to go in mid-September and they're comfortable in their routines," Dodson said. "It's see ball, hit ball, hit target. We want to take that six inches between the ears out of the game."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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