Not all of the players who came out for the Riverhead High School girls golf team this year stuck with it. Golf looks easy when watching professionals on television.
Walking a course and dealing with the trials and tribulations of such a mentally and physically demanding sport is something else, though.
Golf isn’t easy.
“I had one girl say, ‘This isn’t exactly hitting the ball with a stick,’ ” said Steve Failla, who is in his fifth year as Riverhead’s coach.
In a sport that has no shortcuts, Riverhead has only three returning players from last year’s team, which won a few matches.
Aby Brophy, a quiet junior whose play on the greens is her strength, was Riverhead’s No. 1 player.
“It’s nice having Aby back,” Failla said. “She’s so quiet. If I get three words out of her it’s a challenge, so that’s a great mentality for golf. She doesn’t get too high, too low.”
Sophomore Alexandra Kozakiewicz bounced between second and third in the lineup and has stepped up her game, said Failla. Junior Kristen Kinghan moved around between the third and fourth slot, sometimes playing in the second position.
An impressive eighth-grader, Katie Moore, figures to land a place in the six-player lineup. She is an instructor at the Indian Island Golf Camp in the summer.
Two first-time players, seniors Karen Garcia and Sophia Wehunt, are also under consideration along with juniors Jennifer Ramos and Sharrise Martin, freshman Dulce Castillo and seventh-grader Kimberly Horvat.
The team will play its home matches on the par-36 front nine at Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead, and has been working on the driving range at the Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead in preparation for the season.
“It’s going to be a fun year [with] a great group of girls,” Failla said. “We’re still very young. With only three girls returning with golf experience, we got our work cut out for us.”
Indeed, they do. The Blue Waves lost four players to graduation as well as a foreign-exchange student, who moved back to France.