RM golf ‘putts’ in the work

Emma Tyser

For most, golf is part of a relaxing day spent with friends. But for the RM golf team, the competition never ends.  Whether the team is on the course or in school, they are always figuring out new strategies and ways to beat their opponents. 

Golf is one of RM’s smallest sport teams with the shortest season, composed of only 10 members that compete in 10 matches from September to October. With the fall sports season coming to an end, the RM golf team dominated the season, finishing with a 6-4 record. At each match, the team plays three other schools, but the winner is determined by the overall results. “If you beat 2 schools but lose to the other, you go 2-1 for that match,” senior golfer Carson Smith said. 

Coach Kellinger and Coach Farhner are very dedicated to the growth and development of their team. During practices, the coaches are typically seen playing with the athletes. The team notes that their relationship with the coaches has helped the team bond together. 

It is the team’s personal goal to become genuine friends rather than simply teammates through bonding activities outside of practices. Whether it is walking in the hallways together or having team lunches, they make an effort to spend time together.

“The benefit of being a smaller group is that we know each other better… we have this little inside group rather than sub-groups in one big team,” Smith said.

Given their close knit bond and team spirit, Kellinger finds it odd how little attention they receive. Kellinger suspects that there are other reasons besides the team’s size. 

“There are a few reasons that the team doesn’t receive much attention: We don’t practice at RM, and the season is only about six to seven weeks,” Kellinger said. 

 The top six coed team composed of Cabell Faulkner, Zack Lam, Caroline Zhou, Shuxin Dai, Joelle Lee and Carson Smith are ranked sixth in the district for average strokes per match.  This is the second year in a row the coed team has qualified for the state championship. RM’s team for the state championship the past two years has been composed of a majority of girls on the team. This year’s state team, made up of the team’s strongest four golfers, has three girls on it- Zhou, Dai and Lee.

 The team is managed by MCPS, meaning all of their schedules, practices and games are at public courses around Montgomery County. There tends to be a small group of spectators at matches as the amount of match advertising is minimal. 

Much like track and field, golf distinguishes its players. Each player is individualized and focused on to enhance their performance. Put together, their skills contribute to their performance as a team. When on the course the players take on their own games, separate from the others. Smith credits junior teammate Faulkner as the team’s most valued player. 

“There’s not really a record to go off of that tells people I’m a good player. It’s my hard work and determination that sets me apart. Golf has always been something that brings me joy; it represents the happiness in my life,” Faulkner said.