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Boys golf: From zero to full swing

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Bryan Whiting shifted into analytical mode Monday afternoon, processing scores from the Soda Pop Open, the youth tournament he uses as a tryout of sorts for his Glenwood Springs boys golf team.For the most part, he liked what he saw.He had two of his key returners, juniors Michael Braklow and Kelbey Artaz, score well, with Braklow winning the 16- to 18-year-old division with a 78 at Glenwood Springs Golf Club. Artaz shot an 84. Whiting saw others, like Kevin Flohr and Clay Hawkins, show promise with 87s.”I think we’ve got a lot of room to get better,” Whiting said of his team, which tees the season off Thursday at Battlement Mesa Golf Course. “We’ve got a lot of guys doing OK, and now we’ll be getting them focused, get them some experience playing in tournaments.”And the Demons will have to get better in a hurry in the gauntlet that is the boys golf season. Practice started on Monday, the season starts on Thursday and regional and state competition is in the books by early October.

While Braklow and Artaz will likely be among the team’s low scorers once that brutal tournament schedule kicks off, Whiting also sees Flohr, Hawkins, Taylor Mays, Cam Avery, Tanner Wood, Robert Reynolds and Kyle Winkler among those with potential on what Whiting expects to be a 15- to 20-member squad.It all depends on how well they progress, and how much work they’ve put in during the offseason. With such a sprint of a season, it’s spring and summer golf that vaults the best to the top come the high school season.”It’s not hard to learn enough to shoot in the 90s, and even the 80s,” Whiting said. “To shoot 75 and under, to improve a stroke here and there, it takes time and effort to get there.”Forney happy to coach Bear boysRIFLE – Deanna Forney liked coaching Rifle High School’s girls golf team so much in the spring that she’s thrilled to be filling in as the boys coach in the fall.And she’s taking over a squad with some potential.Back for the Bears is junior Klayton Costanzo, likely to be the team’s low scorer this season. Also back is Alex Haynes, the team’s only senior, and David Sours, Hogan Peterson and Chris Kuester. Other than that, Forney’s got a group of mostly youngsters she’ll be happy to mold.”We have a young team,” she said. “A lot of players in the developmental stages. I’ve always loved teaching golf, too. I’ve done that for a few years.”Forney’s taking over for Duke Earl, who had hoped to return for a fourth season coaching the boys but is finding his energy levels too low to take the duties on – a result of an illness he’s been battling for some time.

“I’m getting there,” Earl said. “I was hoping to help a little bit here and there, but it depends on how much energy I have. Maybe I’ll help ’em practice, but it’ll pretty much be [Forney’s] baby.”As the Bears’ girls coach last school year, Forney saw a squad that included her daughter, Loren, make the Class 4A state tournament in Golden.She’s hoping for a similar result from her newly inherited boys team. The quest begins with Thursday’s Grand Valley Invitational at Battlement Mesa Golf Course in Parachute.Forney just hopes her Bears improve with every tournament, saving their best for regionals and the state meet.”I told the boys I’m not too worried about scores,” she explained. “That’ll just give an idea of what they need to work on and we’ll go from there. … These events prepare for the big picture, which is regionals and to get to state. That’s how I feel as a coach, although it’s nice to win a few along the way.”


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