Sailor girls golfers train creatively with season’s arrival | SteamboatToday.com

Sailor girls golfers train creatively with season’s arrival

Austin Colbert

— The reality is, the recently formed Steamboat Springs High School girls golf team can't go about its business like those on the Front Range.

There won't be any green grass — or any grass, at all — for the players to practice on for weeks, yet the Sailors' inaugural season is set to get underway Monday at the Chipeta Golf Course in Grand Junction.

"The philosophy this year is a little bit different, I think, than traditional golf programs, although I think it's a huge opportunity for the girls," Steamboat girls golf coach Shannon Hanley said. "It's one of those scenarios where the girls may not even have too much opportunity to hit off of green grass, therefore I think the fundamental lifestyle skills are very important. It will give them a much more holistic approach to golf."

The Steamboat Springs School Board approved the creation of a girls' golf program in January, making it the 24th sport the school offers. Hanley, a professional at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat, had an extensive career as a professional golfer and is a Class A PGA and LPGA certified instructor.

With a roughly two-hour drive separating the golfers from any real playing surface — a small group traveled to Gypsum on Friday, their only time on an actual golf course, so far — they've had to get creative. Hanley owns a golf studio in town, which she has opened up to the 13 girls on the team. Inside is a small putting green, hitting bay and TrackMan program, which can measure 28 different variables, such as swing speed.

Complete with a commercial kitchen and plenty of fitness equipment, the studio is a place to allow the golfers the opportunity to focus on much more than only their swing.

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"They will be able to cook a few meals and learn about the importance of healthy eating and stamina for sport, which I think is a really cool thing," Hanley said. "I'm fortunate enough to have a few people in the local community rally around and offer their time and talent."

The girls will receive weekly health tips from Natural Grocers' Alicia McLeod, as well as yoga and fitness training from Charlie Chase, both locals. A lot of the equipment the team has was donated by community members.

"The response and the passion and the rally from this community behind the growth of girls golf in the Valley is unbelievable," Hanley said. "At the school, we got some amazing support from Luke DeWolfe, the athletic director. We purchased some nets, and Tom Taylor, from Haymaker, has been kind enough to loan us some mats to be able to hit off of into the nets."

The team's makeup is a mixed bag. There are three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen, some with a golf background, others learning the game for the first time.

Among those expected to lead the team are senior Jenna Miller — whose father, Jim Miller, is a former golf pro at Catamount Ranch and Club — and sophomore Amanda Perlman, daughter of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman.

The team has numerous tournaments scheduled throughout March and April, most on the Interstate 70 corridor, notably Grand Junction. The closest thing to a home meet for the Sailors is a tournament April 26 in Craig. Regionals are scheduled to take place May 7 at the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

SSHS girls golf schedule

Monday at Chipeta Golf Course, Grand Junction

March 14 at Lincoln Park, Grand Junction

March 15 at Adobe Creek Golf Course, Fruita

March 28 at Black Canyon Golf Course, Montrose

March 29 at Bridges Golf Course, Montrose

April 4 at Bookcliff Country Club, Grand Junction

April 5 at Redlands Mesa Golf Course, Grand Junction

April 11 at Gypsum Creek Golf Course, Gypsum

April 12 at River Valley Ranch Golf Course, Carbondale

April 25 at Tiara Rado Golf Course, Grand Junction

April 26 at Yampa Valley Golf Course, Craig

May 2 at Ironbridge Golf Club, Glenwood Springs

May 7 at Regionals, Yampa Valley Golf Course, Craig