Seymour golfers upping their game


When Lainey Jackson steps on a golf course for a match she just concentrates on her game and blocks out what the No. 1 golfers from other schools are doing.

“I just know that I can live up to my full potential, and I know I can stay in the same range as they are,” the Seymour sophomore said.

Jackson says the strongest part of her game “has definitely been my iron shots. I’ve progressed with those really well. I struggled with my putting a little bit, but I’ve gotten a lot better. My distance off the tee has gotten a lot better. I changed my swing and it’s gotten me a lot more distance.”

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She said you have to stay positive all the time.

“I’ve realized that playing No. 1 you kind of have to like do well for your team. You’ve got to show (teammates) that you can do well so you can’t let those shots get you down.”

Jackson shot a 45 to lead the Owls to a second-place finish at Shadowood Golf Course Monday afternoon. Columbus East, led by medalist Peyton Meier with a 40, won the match with a score of 165. The Owls scored 216 and Clarksville scored 230.

Phoebe Skidmore was next for the Owls with 50, Maddie Nay shot 60, Rylee Ebler scored 61, and Tori Gray 71.

“We’re going to have a roller-coaster for a little bit,” coach Jim Hoffman said. “We have one (golfer) quarantined right now just as a precaution. That’s going to affect it a little bit. Our scores are going to be like that with our youth (four sophomores).”

Hoffman said there have been ups and downs this season.

“We’re going to see the lows and the highs and just try to make a little headway each time, and break it off in roles of five for each girl,” Hoffman said. “It’s working. The girls are getting better. Sometimes the scores don’t represent how well they hit the ball.”

The Owls had a match at Otis Park, Bedford Tuesday. They will play in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament Sept. 12 at Valley View, and will compete in the sectional at Otis Park on Sept. 19.

Hoffman said he feels members of his team can score well, especially in the sectional.

“We can do OK (at Otis Park),” he said. “The field sets up nicely for us to get out and get to regionals again. It’s a great experience for the girls. If we can gain that experience this year and next year by the time they’re seniors they’ll be in good shape.

“I’m proud of the way they’re going. Like I’ve said before, we’re a year or two year out, and we’re OK with that.”

Jackson said one area to step up is in the short game.

“I feel we all need to work on our putting,” she said. “I need to work on my drives and make sure they stay straight. Some of the courses we are going to play at, the trees are a big deal.”

The sport itself provides enjoyment for her.

“I just like the atmosphere, playing with the golfers and getting to know new people, and making stronger bonds with my teammates,” Jackson said.

“I like 9-hole matches. Whenever you play 18 I feel like you have a lot more holes to think about what you need to do and 18 holes affects you mentally.”

Skidmore, also a sophomore, has been playing No. 2 for the Owls all season.

“The best parts of my game are probably my drives and my iron shots. Our whole team could definitely work on putting. If we could make our putts we could drop a lot of strokes as a team.”

She said she prefers playing the back nine at Shadowood.

‘It just has a lot more straight-shot holes,” Skidmore said. “There’s not much to get in your way. I like 9-hole matches, too. Eighteen is just draining, mentally and physically.

One area of Skidmore’s game she wants to work on is chipping.

“I could have saved a lot of strokes (Monday) if I would have chipped better, and my putting as well,” she said. “You just have to stay confident and if you have a bad hole just forget about it and worry about the next hole. I look at it, it’s me against the course, not me against the other girl.”

She recorded her first birdie at Shadowood this season Monday, and said her favorite away course is Harrison Lake.

Ebler, another sophomore, likes Shadowood’s familiarity.

“I like it because I know where I’m going, and it’s easier for me to play here,” Ebler said. “I think it’s a pretty easy course. It’s not very hilly. And there’s not a lot of water. I like the front nine better. I feel (the front nine) is easier.”

She has confidence in her putting and listed that as the strongest part of her game.

Ebler said leading up to the HHC and sectional she needs to work on her drives, both for distance and accuracy.

“My chipping is good,” she said. “I like my team because we’re all really close and there’s not a lot of us so we all get along, and I like playing with the girls. Everyone is really nice.”

Nay likes the pace of golf as a sport and believes driving is her strong point.

“I just enjoy that golf is a good, outdoor exercise and that it’s not super vigorous, not so fast-paced,” Nay said. “I usually get pretty good distance. My chipping is OK. My putting I need to work on. I need to get it down to two putts every time.

“I love Shadowood. It’s a nice course. I like the front nine better. It’s just my preference. I can score better on the front nine. I like 9-hole matches. I do better at nine.”

Golf may not require sprinting, but playing in the heat can take a toll.

“Hydration is key when it comes to playing golf,” Nay said. It’s hot most of the season, even though it’s a fall sport. Attitude is everything when it comes to golf because once you have a bad attitude it goes downhill from there.”

Gray, the other senior on the team, said Nay talked her into playing this season. This is the first sport Gray has tried in high school.

“I was kind of back-and-forth on the fence and she kind of convinced me to play,” Gray said of Nay’s influence. “I’m glad she talked me into it.

“My grandpa took me out to play two weeks before my first practice and that is the first time I had ever really swung a club. So that was my first time, and then my first practice was the second time I had played golf.”

She said she enjoys having teammates.

“I like the team. They’re all really nice, and the teams we play against are really nice,” Gray said.

Although Gray likes the front nine at Shadowood, she also has a fondness for 17. She has pinpointed one flaw in her game: “I’m not good at hitting over water. mI need to work on my chipping. I feel like I can take several shots off my score if I work on chipping.”

Hoffman said as a group he sees gradual improvement in the Owls.

“They’re gaining confidence,” he said. “They don’t think through things enough. We just get up and hit the ball sometimes. Sometimes in golf you’ve got to think about what you want to do, and sometimes we get a little rushed and that comes with the youth part of it.

“They’re improving with the physical part. Eighteen-hole matches are grueling sometimes and when it’s hot out it’s difficult, but we’re getting into better shape, and physically and mentally we’re getting there.”

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