The Tide is Turning for Golf Team
By Ellen Oliver
A 3-5 record might not seem to be an indicator of a turning point, but Nashoba longtime golf team coach Dennis Bean recognizes a shift in his team. “We had a slow start, but things are turning around,” said the coach. “We have kids who are figuring out match play. It’s different than playing on the weekend with your dad or friends.”
According to the coach, the difference between weekend golf and competitive match play comes down to discipline. “I tell the kids, if you’re playing golf well, you’re probably not having a lot of fun,” laughed the coach. “You have to make some tough decisions and grind a bit out there.”
Coach Bean listed Marlborough and Groton-Dunstable as teams that beat the Chieftains already this season who might not be so lucky the second time around. “Some of the games we lost, we didn’t lose by much,” he said, happy that only a few games have been played at home so far this season. “You’ve got to win your home matches and hope to take a few on the road.”
But the September 19 match against Quabbin was when Coach Bean noticed the shift in momentum. “We finally had everyone play well on the same day,” he said.
Bean acknowledges that it’s difficult to strategize in golf meets. “You put your best kid with their best kid and so on,” he explained. “It comes down to how much depth you have.” In the past, the Chieftains have suffered as they went down the ranks, but this year Bean said the Nashoba team has a strong roster and plenty of potential.
Leading off for the Chieftains is Alec Dempsey, a junior. “He’s been bitten by the golf bug as bad as anyone,” said Coach Bean. “He’s one of the best number one guys in the league.” Coach Bean also appreciates Dempsey’s willingness to help the team improve. “He’s a kid who shares what he knows. He wants the team to do better and the kids respect him.”
Found at the number two spot is the quiet senior Jared Richard, who has been on the team for four years. “Jared is very good, very solid,” said the coach. “He had a rough start, but is rounding into shape. He’d be a number one on any other team.”
The three through six spots vary, but Coach Bean said he’s fortunate to have five good golfers to provide depth. Senior Matt Benscheinder provides a consistent presence. “It’s a difficult game to play well all the time. Matt does,” he said. Another senior Tye Barlow, is less consistent, but Bean says he will “beat the pants off anyone when he’s on.” Tom Casey, a junior, has a powerful swing. “He hits the ball as far as anyone,” said Bean.
Rounding out the top spots are two Stow sophomores Joey Tavis and Jordan Vyas. “Joey is probably our most improved player,” said the Coach. “He’s gone from a freshman to a bona fide line up guy.” The coach says Vyas has a nice swing and a great attitude. “He’s learning he doesn’t have to swing out of his shoes all the time, smoothing out his tempo,” said the coach.
Although there’s not an official JV golf team, the coach says he has a number of players who will be able to step up next year. Juniors Zach Marshall, Cody Wold, Sean Nash and Dante Cabral and sophomores Kyle Tremblay and Jimmy Henry are all cusp players who may not get in a match this year, but the coach says are having fun and developing their skills. “They show for practices, some work harder than others, but they’re learning,” he said.
Part of depth of a team is the willingness for young players to develop their skills even though they won’t play in a competitive match all year. Coach Bean said he’s happy to have three freshmen, Hannah Roth, David Morales and Andy Gillis as part of his sixteen person squad.
The Chieftains play in Midland B league which it seems is always topped by Westborough. “We thought Westborough would be a bit weaker this year, but they filled in players nicely,” said the coach.
“We’re 3-5 right now, said Coach Bean. “All we have to do is reverse that and we’ll be 8-8 and make Districts, which is our goal.”
For more golf team pictures and photos of other Nashoba sports, please see: http://daisydesignphotos.