Entering this season, golf head coach Mr. Ken Bateman has one goal: qualifying for the sectional tournament on October 24th. Even he didn’t expect to have already qualified for the tournament in early October.
This is Bateman’s seventh year coaching the varsity golf team at the high school, and he believes this may be his most talented team yet, “I think the boys are playing great. We have a lot of returning players, and I think our greater success this year is a result of everyone scoring more consistently. Last year, many of the golfers could shoot 1 over one day and then 10 over the next day. This year, the fluctuations are much narrower, and the golfers are consistently scoring lower than they did last year.”
Along with the added consistency day in and day out, Bateman is encouraged by the leadership he observes from the captains, “The captains were chosen based on their ability to lead the team. We have different styles of leadership, but they all perform their duties perfectly. I believe that all of the boys on the team respect Jake Robertson, Jack McKenna, and Harry Grosso based on their demeanor with our team as well as with the opposing teams. They all represent Wellesley as being a competitive team with great sportsmanship,” he said.
Captain Jake Robertson ’17 has embraced his role as a senior leader and is a big contributor to the competitiveness and sportsmanship of the team. Robertson believes this year’s squad to be the closest and most cohesive he has been a part of in his four years at the high school, “On a high school golf team, when everyone is comfortable enough that there aren’t a lot of worries during the match, that’s when a team can really succeed. That’s what we have, and it’s really helped us so far this season. It’s been a really great experience to be a leader on the team so far, and I’m sure both Jack and Harry would agree”, said Robertson.
Robertson’s teammate and fellow senior Bo Picking ‘17 also feeds off of the team’s relaxed mindset,“I feel like this year the team is very close knit and more like a big family. We are constantly having fun playing practice rounds, going to the range, and winning matches together. It’s also been fun to lead the team by example and to keep giving positive feedback to kids who are in a slump,” he said.
Apart from the seniors on the team, Picking believes Coach Bateman has contributed to the closeness of the team through practice rituals and sound advice, “I think Coach Bateman has had a really positive impact in our game. He forces us to play smart golf–for example he reminds us that we do not need our drivers on short holes. He also always puts a positive spin on things and pumps us up for big upcoming matches,” Picking said.
Even though the team has already clinched a spot in the playoffs, the upcoming portion of the season is critical, with the team vying for an undefeated season and a high seed in the playoff tournament. Although golf is not the most popular sport at the high school, Coach Bateman encourages all Raider Crazies to attended the final four matches of the season, “We have four matches left: Weymouth, Natick, Saugus, and Brookline. I cannot say that any of the matches are incredibly important at this point, but we will have a very competitive match against Natick at Sassamon Trace next Monday and Brookline at Wellesley Country Club next Wednesday. Each win leads us closer to our goal of an undefeated season. Therefore, each match is important at this point,” Bateman said.
The team has since the season undefeated with big wins over the opponents mentioned above, and head into the playoff possessing the number one seed. When asked about the possibility of the season coming to an end in the next few weeks, Picking believes the team has enough talent and obviously hopes to go as far as they can, but sees the valuable lessons he has learned from the game as extremely important as well: “I think I will take away how to have fun and compete at the same time. I have also learned how to deal and push through adversity, as sometimes when you are shooting bad at first, you have to rally back and start to change things for the better knowing that the team is relying on you. Here’s hoping that the upcoming playoffs are a hole in one.”