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North Miami looks for girls golf stability

LIFT OFF: North Miami’s Allie Miller is one of five golfers returning for the 2019 season after a 2018 season that was on par with the previous year. The Warriors will look for stability under new coach Chrissy Hanson and utilize their experience to lower scores throughout the year.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

The only consistent thing for North Miami girls’ golf in recent seasons has been change.

A group that will be seeing its four head coach in five years will return a large amount of the squad that competed last year, finishing ninth in the TRC and 10th in the Western Sectional.

New head coach Chrissy Hanson has ties to the program and will be looking to bring stability to the squad.

“I took a new job at North Miami and had played golf at North Miami on the very first girls’ golf team,” Hanson said. “I was available and decided to give it a try.”

The Warriors have eight golfers out, including five returning golfers from 2018 in Allie Miller, Samantha Weidner, Maddy Weidner, Jackie Jones and Izzy McBride, along with three newcomers in Courtney Sexton, Hayley Anderson and Amara Laycock

“We’ve had some girls who have been out to the range this summer and out on the course a couple of times,” Hanson said. “We are working on the process of the game, some basic understanding of golf and how to improve their scores.

“They’ve made some personal goals. We’re working on hitting the ball straight, not so much how far it goes but being consistent in hitting it straight.”

Miller, Jones, McBride and Sam Weidner come in with at least two years in the varsity five with scores dropping a bit between each season.

For many, however, the strides have not always been big and Hanson said many girls were looking at that first before worrying about team results down the line.

“Most of the girls want to improve their scores,” Hanson said. “Two of our new golfers have never golfed before but they are eager to learn.

“Both of them are fairly athletic, which helps with muscle memory.”

In order to bring the scores down, Hanson said the group was learning about how to read the course as well as work around the greens.

“We’re really working on understanding the course,” Hanson said in preparation for the first home match. “We’ve talked about selecting clubs, how to select clubs and how to keep their heads in the game.

“My goal for them is to get to the green and be able to two-putt, scoring double-bogey or better on holes.”

Another goal Hanson has for the girls involves better consistency in shot placement, asking for a more controlled approach at the beginning.

“I’ve been hitting them on a straight shot going 100 yards is better than a shot going 200 yards that isn’t straight,” Hanson said. “We want them to get to the greens in three-to-four strokes and be able to two-putt from there.

“We’re focusing on the green to make our putting is as accurate as possible. We’re working on our base, making those good 100 yard shots and then adding length as we’re adding more clubs to the round.

“They’re all at different levels, so their growth will depend on the girl,” Hanson added.

North Miami opens the season Monday with a trip to Triton to face the Trojans and Whitko before hosting Marion Tuesday.

Having been stuck at the back of the pack at many invites, conference matches and sectional rounds, Hanson said she wanted the girls to be able to go out and have confidence in their abilities as the season progresses.

“We want the girls to have pride in themselves,” Hanson said. “We want them to stick with it and enjoy their accomplishments.

“Golf is a mental game and it’s easy to get down on yourself. Overcoming teeing off with other high school girls can be scary when you’re not on the same level as them.

“We want the girls to be able put themselves out there, to be risk takers but to also take on leadership roles as they learn the game.”