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My son played his first ever competitive round of golf today and it was a member of his high school team.  He is not very skilled as he has really only played for less than a year and has not had any lessons. His team practices/tryouts consisted of 3 days of a little range work and then 9 holes of golf. There has been essentially zero instruction. It appears everyone is expected to develop on their own and then show up to play. The team ace is the home course pro's son, who is close to a scratch golfer (shot a 37 today).  The rest of the team is probably around bogey golf +/- 5 strokes on average, with some rounds much higher.  My son said there were a few kids who tried out who are really, really bad. So far the best he has shot is a 46 against par 35. He shot a 56 today on a course he had never seen before. I suggested to my son that his goal for the year might be to get his average to bogey or better.  During one round this year another twosome joined my son and I for the last few holes as were backed up waiting on others and in the course of conversation HS golf was brought up. One of them mentioned that he has seen a lot of HS golf on that course and that my son would have no problem competing based on what little he saw of his game and the other HS golfers he has seen.  So other than a few good players, it appears southern Ohio HS golf is not very high level. We live in a rural, high poverty area, so I am sure that affects the level of play around here. I am making a lot of assumptions since I have not really witnessed many other HS golfers play.

What is high school golf like in your area?

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A long time ago I was a sportswriter in Massillon. We had a real mix of schools from big, wealth districts to some very small and/or poorer ones.  Time dims the memory considerably, but nine-hole scores ranged from low 30s to mid 50s most of the time. 

In fact, here is a report from a match yesterday from my old employer The Independent. 

Tuslaw was one of my old coverage responsibilities. Shame they couldn't find any more than that to play. That course is literally 10 minutes down the road from them.

Sandy Valley 329, Northwest 403, Manchester 421

Elms, par 72

Sandy Valley: Ritter 75, Leichtamer 80, Offenberger 83, Wood 91. Northwest: Huscinson 85, Schenz 96, Carmany 103, Schwendiman 119. Manchester: Johnson 86, Eubank 107, Speedy 109, Yingling 119. Tuslaw: Bolitho 102, Crawford 143.

Note: Tuslaw did not have enough players for a team score.

 

Edited by mcanadiens

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I follow karl Villips on YouTube (Australian amateur), he was an scratch player around age 14 and now close to been 18 is like a +4, and one of the best amateur for his age. 

If you want more detail, check online the scores and course length that this boys play at ages from 14 to 18. They are beasts!! 

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High school coaches are van drivers. Nothing more.

They are expected to develop on their own yes. They should. High school coaches often can’t break 90.

P.S. Paragraphs are your friend.

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In our area, teachers have a first right to coaching sports.   If they feel like they can coach, they will get the job over some others that are more qualified to coach.    Golf seems to be one of those sports.    

3 minutes ago, iacas said:

High school coaches are van drivers. Nothing more.

+1

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Most public school coaches are going to just be teachers they found to fill the spot. They are expected to get better on their own pretty much. I would go the lessons route. Having said that, the private schools in our area enlist the local college coaches and players to help them. Not to mention that some of the private schools have 40k a year golf team budget.  There is a big difference. As far as scores, there is going to be a huge range from low to high

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Our team's coach is also a school teacher, but is not a golf teacher. He is a nice guy. Probably has the best or at least easiest varsity coaching job at the school. 

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Most, if not all the promising highschool golfers in my area are mostly in private, or semi private highschools. Same with other hs sports

Our local hs has a golf team, most of the players are from a golfing family. I've golfed with some of them, and their Dads. 

It's not unheard of for the local college golf coach to sometimes work with the more gifted hs players. It's a recruiting type visit. 

Our home course's pro will also work with local  highschoolers. He donates his time as a group lesson. 

I know the OP's issue first hand. My daughters played softball in hs for a history teacher. He knew nothing about coaching/teaching girls softball. I on the other hand knew quite a bit about girls softball. I asked to help out, and was flat told no. My daughters knew more about coaching their team, than the coach did. 

 

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A close friend of mine is a local high school golf coach. It's a small school, so the talent really isn't that great. He complains about the fact that there is almost no time to practice, they have matches scheduled almost every day especially when it rains and they have to make up matches. He also can't coach when they have matches, that's against the rules. Also, having 14 or so kids makes it tough for him to actually play practice rounds with all of them with any regularity. it's a good gig because you can play for free, but yeah, what @iacas said. You'll be expected to make improvements on your own.

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Almost 50 years ago I thought about going out for the golf team. After talking to the coach I decided not to. I was shooting mid 40's on the front nine at Tamer Wyn and he had guys shooting 30's at Old Avalon. Some on here are familiar with those courses and know that is a really big difference. 

 

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It seems like they are not stickler for the rules in my son's league. The coach is does not appear to be very knowledgeable of the rules.  He gave my son what I believe to be incorrect rules info about lost balls at least. 

My son said he thinks a kid on another team (the one with the official scorecard) was cheating yesterday. Apparently the same kid was accused to cheating last year.

I bought my son a rules reference guide to carry in his bag, but I doubt he has read it much. I also told him he needs to be be aware of his opponents score on each hole. 

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I agree with others who have suggested, in various ways, not to expect any instruction from the high school coach. Generally, they are teachers who have the time and are willing to coach a team for the sake of making a tiny bit of extra money. My high school coach was a psychology teacher, so the biggest benefit we got from him was some calming advice if we got upset on the course.

For just playing a year with no lessons up to now, your son sounds like he has some natural ability. At the risk of spending your money for you, I'd suggest you get him lessons from a proper PGA pro before he develops any swing flaws or bad habits. The formative time to set a young player on the right path is now...

And good luck to your son!

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I agree on the fact public high school golf coaches are nothing more than van drivers.

When I was in high school, my team had a fairly good coach, he was genuinely around a 3 handicap, so he was a really good player. The one really nice thing I will say about him, is his got me to harness my power at that time. I was stupid long in high school. (I'm talking legitimately tour pro long at the time, 300 yards off the tee was nothing, but I was very wild) He got me to harness that power down to about 70-80% effort and I was still long, but I was a lot more accurate.

We had this one par-three at our home course that was 157 yards and played about 40 feet downhill. I went to reach for my pitching wedge and he reached in my bag and handed me an 8-iron. He looked at me and said, "I'll bet you can hit it closer with this 8-iron than you have been with your pitching wedge." I proceeded to knock it to a foot. I was of the Tiger generation where we all saw Tiger hitting Driver, pitching wedge into 15 at Augusta, thinking we have to do it to, except we duff it in the water.

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Apparently my son's team coach is not even a van driver.  They take a full size bus with its own driver to haul the 5-6 players plus coach to the matches.

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22 hours ago, onthehunt526 said:

(I'm talking legitimately tour pro long at the time, 300 yards off the tee was nothing, but I was very wild) He got me to harness that power down to about 70-80% effort and I was still long, but I was a lot more accurate.

We had this one par-three at our home course that was 157 yards and played about 40 feet downhill. I went to reach for my pitching wedge and he reached in my bag and handed me an 8-iron. He looked at me and said, "I'll bet you can hit it closer with this 8-iron than you have been with your pitching wedge." I proceeded to knock it to a foot. 

Not quite sure how this relates to the OT, Donald. 😎

Edited by leftybutnotPM

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My son struggled his first 2 rounds Tuesday/Wednesday (56/57) on the front/ back of the same course that he had never seen before). Thursday he had his best round ever with a 94 (45/49) on the same course during a larger invitational tournament for the 3rd best score on his team.  His team's best player won the individual by 1 stroke with a 73, whereas the team did not place. My son said that he has seen several kids that are much worse than him. I guess he is probably pretty average.

Clearly there is wide range of skill in southern Ohio high school golf.

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Just got this text from my buddy who is a golf coach at a small upstate NY school. This is what high school golf is like for many of us - 

"First day of golf practice today...had a kid ask how many holes do we play...cheered when we got done with 9. Thought I was going to drag him in haha"

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