With 12 boys golfers and just three on the girls side this year, Nodaway Valley head golf coach Joel Klobnak is pleased with the progression of both squads as they forge ahead toward a quickly approaching conference tournament at Greenfield Country Club May 4.
The boys, who have experienced good competition within their team because of the strong numbers, have one win under their belts, against Griswold. Most recently, they were eighth last Tuesday against a slew of teams at a Shenandoah tournament.
Freshman Zack Gebbie and sophomore Kaden Herr are the top golfers for the Wolverine boys team, each averaging 54.5 holes per nine. Landon Klobnak averages 60.5, Brandon Raasch 63.5 and Jack Jensen 74.
“The one thing I’m excited for is that almost all of my players are ninth-graders. In the past, I’ve had almost all seniors. I’m excited I get talent their freshman years and then be able to grow them their sophomore year and on,” coach Klobnak said. “Kaden and Zack, I feel that if I can continue to groom them, by their senior year they’ll have an awesome year. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that have to come together.”
Of those pieces of the puzzle, Klobnak said there’s the mental side of the game that doesn’t allow you to get frustrated on a bad shot. The coach says his goal for these boys is to focus on the fundamentals and to learn how to relax on the course, trusting the club to do its job on any given stroke.
On the girls side, junior Cadee Firch has a natural ability to shake off bad holes and move on, Klobnak said. She’s been the clear leader on that side of the team, averaging 62.5.
Ashlyn Gutierrez and Allie Herr, averaging 72 and 82 strokes, respectively, are very new to the sport but are coming along.
“I feel Cadee can be a consistent 50s golfer next year,” Klobnak said. “Allie and Ashlyn are as green as you can imagine for golf, but they’re having fun out there and their number one thing they need to overcome is the mental game, but also just relax. We’re trying to get through the basics. It’s very minor things, but once we get past the minor details we can fine-tune and drop some strokes off their cards.”