The biography of Goessel golf coach Chad Lindeman on the district’s website says he: “enjoys watching students learn something new. The coolest part is seeing students when struggling to keep working to accomplish their work instead of giving up.”
By that standard, Lindeman should have the coolest of golf seasons this spring, as about half of his team will be swinging the sticks for the first time.
“This will be my biggest year of kids that haven’t golfed before,” Lindeman said. “That’s a challenge in itself. There are a lot of unknowns this year, with a lot of young kids. I have six freshmen going out this year.”
Balancing the novices is a core of returning seniors: Lawton Makovec, Kellen Froese, and Lucas Hiebert. The trio played in all varsity tournaments last year.
“Lucas was our No. 1 golfer, and traded off at No. 2 at some tournaments,” Lindeman said. “I expect him to do well, and hope he shoots in the low 90s this year.”
Junior Luke Unruh, who has some varsity experience, should fill out Goessel’s team for four-man events. Lindeman said it’s too early to know whether the Bluebirds will consistently field a six-man varsity team.
“We’re going to go out and do the best we can and compete,” Lindeman said.
With a practice field the size of a golf course, Lindeman said he will lean on Makovec, Froese, and Hiebert to give tips to younger players on rules or technique when Lindeman isn’t nearby.
The team practices at the nearby Pine Edge par-3 course. With good fairways and greens, a driving range, and a putting green, Lindeman said the facility is well-suited to the needs of his developing golfers, even though the holes are short.
“We work on our irons every day, and that’s the main thing in golf,” he said.
The driving range is 200 yards, sufficient for practice, but first-time golfers are often intimidated when they step onto the tee box of a 490-yard par-5 hole in a tournament, Lindeman said.
Five girls are expected to compete alongside the boys, as Goessel doesn’t offer girls’ golf in the fall.
“Only one of those has actually played before,” Lindeman said. “I’ve had some girls that have done pretty well.”
If the past is a guide, then Lindeman’s work teaching the game to freshman will bear fruit in future years.
“In the last couple of years, I’ve only lost two or three kids that haven’t gone through all four years,” Lindeman said.