Team York captures GAO Regional Team Championship
MYRTLE BEACH, SC— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) three regional development teams (Ottawa, York and Waterloo) were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last week (March 9-14) for the first regional team competition. The teams completed testing while competing against one another. In the end, it was the squad from York who came away as the victors accumulating 23.5 points, just one more than runners-up Ottawa who finished with 22.5, Waterloo finished in a close third with 20.
The teams were at the Barefoot Golf Resort, a facility that features four courses designed by well-known industry professionals: Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. The teams took part in range, putting and short game training, at the facility, each day before daily competitions, where they worked in a round on each of the courses.
“The four courses at Barefoot Resort each offered unique challenges to the golfers looking to test all facets of their game,” said Team Ottawa coach Adam Holden. “Barefoot’s practice facility is first class with a huge manicured grass tee, short-game area and most importantly high-quality range balls.”
Each coach in attendance had an area pro with him to assist in training. Team York’s Jeff Overholt had Westmount Golf Club’s Tara Savoie, Team Waterloo’s Mike Martz was assisted by Rob Hannah, from The Rebel Creek Academy and Holden of Team Ottawa was joined by John Haime from New Edge Performance.
Managing Director of the GAO’s Sport Development Mike Kelly and Manager of Sport Performance Mary Ann Hayward, were both with the team early in the week to collect Trackman data on all of the athletes.
In addition, Team Ontario strength and conditioning coach and physiotherapist Andrew Hoermann was on hand to conduct physical testing of the athletes. The teams also got the chance to train with the Team Ontario mental coach Judy Goss.
The competition potion of the week was a combination of round-robin match play (March 11-13) and stroke play (March 14). Points were awarded at the end of each day and the team that accumulated the most points would be crowned the Regional Team Champions.
The match play portion saw two of the regional teams face off each day with the third having a training round. They were played as a two-person scramble on the front nine and two-person best ball on the back, with one point being awarded for the team that won the most holes on the nine.
The stroke play scores were determined after each player played 18 holes. Then, the top five scores for the boys and top three for the girls were counted towards the team score.
In the team matches, it was Waterloo earning the victory on day one with a 9.5-8.5 win over Ottawa. Sparky MacLean hit a 40-foot putt on the 18th to grab the deciding point in the match for Waterloo. Waterloo was back at it on day two, but took a 12.5-5.5 loss to York. The final day of team competitions saw Ottawa even things out with a 12-6 win over York to set up an exciting stroke-play round.
“The regional team competition was a great way to prepare players for the upcoming competitive season,” said Overholt. “All of the teams were fairly evenly matched which lead to a dramatic finally on the last day of competition. Players really enjoyed the match play portion of the event, which help to develop a tighter bond with their teammates. Many of the younger players had never played in a match play format, so the competition was a great learning opportunity.”
Team York’s boys dominated the stroke play event with the top four scores, helping the team capture the overall championship. David Yoon led the way with a round of 75. On the girls’ side, it was Waterloo’s Madeline March-Sherk who posted the best score of the day with 75.
“I was very happy with the way our team performed in the competition throughout the week,” said Overholt. “We spent much of our time working with the players on managing their performance state and they all did a great job of applying the skills learned in practice on the course. Coming out on top was a great way to end the week and a great reward for all the players effort and hard work.”
Overall, the camp was a huge hit with the players and coaches who all saw it as a great development tool. “I think the camp provided the opportunity for the athletes to gauge their skill level and direct a plan to move forward with their games,” added Waterloo’s Martz. “It was an invaluable experience allowing the players to witness first hand how much time and effort is required to play at the highest levels. They were then given the opportunity to play in the afternoon and note differences throughout the week in their games. They were also given the tools to practice more effectively and the results showed by week’s end.”