Bolivar High School golf is fired up to hit the fairway for the first time in about two years next month.
The Liberators open their season at 9 a.m. Monday, April 5, at the Bolivar Invitational tournament at Silo Ridge Country Club.
It’s the first time the team will compete in a Missouri State High School Activities Association event since 2019. All spring 2020 events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But for coach Jason Hines, that doesn't deviate his preparations for the season.
“That preparation starts with getting as much time on the course as possible leading up to the part of the season when tournaments are a more regular occurrence,” he said. “We are mindful of our COVID-19 protocols with masks and social distancing, but luckily golf is the ultimate social distancing sport. Players are outside, and they do not have to be in close contact with teammates or competitors. Beyond that, our focus is still on improving all aspects of the game through practice time on the course.”
Bolivar fields three seniors — Jacob Darby, Blake Halverson and Dreven Sharp.
Darby’s first year with the team was 2020, but was unable to compete due to the season being canceled. Sharp is in his first year, Hines said, and is “working hard to have an immediate positive impact on the team.”
Halverson has played all four years, Hines said.
Bolivar’s team also features junior Aiden Asby, who qualified for the state tournament as a freshman in 2019.
Hines said his hopes for the season is to see every golfer improve in ways specific to them.
“We want to be competitive in tournaments and carry that into the postseason,” he said. “Through all of it, I hope that each player represents Bolivar with the highest degree of character, integrity and sportsmanship, and from what they have displayed so far in practice, I am confident they will make Bolivar very proud.”
Key to that is staying focused on the fundamental skills that lead to daily improvement, he said.
“There are going to be up and down moments throughout the season,” he said. “As long as each player can take the progress they make in practice to the tournaments, then the down moments will have less of a negative impact on individual scores.”
It’s also going to be important for the team to develop strong focus and mental tenacity by replicating tournament conditions in practice as much as possible, he said.
“It's always a work in progress, but we will be dedicated to getting better every day through the last round of the state championships,” he said.