Girls GolfNot that indie

The halcyon days of winter are, devilishly anachronistic snowstorms notwithstanding, largely behind us; the white snow of winter is giving way to the lush green of a new spring. For a handful, this green is a call to lay down their Pokémon cards and indignant letters-to-the-editor and beat their swords into plowshare – or, rather, their snow shovels into golf clubs. These few are the members of the Ames High Girls Golf team. While golf has traditionally been vaguely assumed a Men’s sport, female golfers have of late reached new heights of fame and prominence, such as Annika Sörenstam, often considered the greatest female golfer in history. Her mastery of the game was so exceptional that she was able to qualify for the otherwise completely male PGA tour. Likewise, golf at Ames High, largely enjoys recognition almost solely for its masculine division. Whether this is because of a perceived lack of skill, gender discrimination, or something else is open to speculation; the fact remains that Girls Golf is a largely unknown phenomenon. “Girls Golf? What’s that?” queried confused senior Conrad Luecke. “Is that like Girls Gone Wild?” Girls Golf also lacks the obvious hallmarks of an ‘Indie’ sport, like table tennis or rugby. While it is not mainstream, like basketball or football, it is distinct from similar sports in that it is tied, almost indelibly, to haute culture elitism. When one thinks of golf, one thinks of country clubs, rich people, and caddies; this is not so at Ames High. “Are high school golfers allowed caddies like the pros? Nope, just you and your 33-lb bag for the next 6 hours,” wrote junior Lauren Schwab. “Miss an easy putt in front of coach and it’s 10 push ups on the side of the green.” Ames High’s Girls Golf is clearly not the limp-wristed aristocratic exercise that it is in country clubs; it is more akin to the professional, competitive scene of which recognizable figures are not Earls or doctors but rather athletes. It is this Spartan training that elevates golf from the level of curiosity to ‘real sport’. “We have meets every week. It can be really competitive. Some of the girls are pretty intense – some of the varsity girls are intimidating,” said senior Kinsey Belz. “I’m on junior varsity, though. It’s really fun.” What accolades Golf has won, and what interest it has sparked, have never been for everyone. While it doesn’t seem that it will be as big as basketball or even baseball any time soon, it has, and will continue to have, devoted patrons and, above all, athletes.