Changes needed in girls golf event |

Changes needed in girls golf event

Darrell Moody
Appeal Sports Writer

This is my annual complaint about girls golf column. It’s one I’ll probably continue to write until the people involved get things done the correct away.

I’ve been in Northern Nevada for four years, and each fall, I helplessly watch as the golfers struggle to complete their rounds before it gets dark.

It’s something that shouldn’t happen, and I think there is plenty of blame to share.

I’ll start with the local golf courses. Now I realize, that these course generally give up their course for MOST of the day for little or no charge. Why can’t these courses give it to the kids for the entire day?

The 4A zone tournament last week started at noon on Monday, and two groups had to finish their first rounds early Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, every group finished, but a couple of the groups were basically playing in darkness.

Normally, the leaders tee off last on the second day, but coaches were so worried about running out of light, they sent the leaders out first. It was a smart move. You certainly don’t want the best players having to hurry to get through a round with team championships and medals on the line. It really wasn’t fair for the No. 6 players on the various teams to play in that type of situation, either. Golf is a game that can’t and shouldn’t be rushed. Inexperienced players are going to take longer to play.

I know running a golf course is a big business, but I don’t think the courses would lose an overwhelming amount of money if they let the kids tee off at 10 instead of 12. Even 11 a.m. would help. Do that, and all the golfers would complete their rounds.

If golf courses are crying poor, then that’s where I think the NIAA and schools should share in the cost;.

I think it’s great that the courses are there for the kids, but something has to be done.

I’m tired of hearing people say they don’t have the money to budget to pay for a course. I don’t buy it. If the NIAA has to charge the schools more dues to rent golf courses, then maybe that’s the answer.

Another idea is for the schools themselves to pay to play in the zone and state tournaments. To get that extra two hours, maybe the course needs to tell the NIAA what money they would lose in green fees in a one or two-hour window, and have the schools/NIAA make up the difference.

Another idea, is to start the season earlier. Start a week before school, and that way maybe you can get the zone tournament in before the days start getting shorter. Donnie Nelson, NIAA director of communications, said the calendar is already set for the next two years. Or maybe shorten the season. Do the leagues really need six tournaments a season? I certainly think four would work just as well. Maybe teams could schedule some 9-hole dual matches in lieu of having less tournaments. One thing is certain, the kids would miss less school.

My last thought on the subject would be to have fewer players competing. Both the boys and girls have six-member teams and count the best five scores. It’s safe to say that the girls in Northern Nevada aren’t quite as accomplished as the boys. Maybe the girls should have five players and count four scores. Maybe that’s not politically correct, but for the most part it makes sense. I’m all about participation, but if these tournaments aren’t going to start until 11:30 or noon, maybe fewer participants is the answer.

• And, while we’re on the subject of the NIAA, I’d like to pass along my congratulations to Dr. Jerry Hughes, who will be leaving as executive director to take a teaching position at UNLV.

I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Hughes over the past four years, and have always found him to be approachable and fair. He certainly will be missed.

• Before I close, I have to wonder what the NIAA was doing when it scheduled the zone tournament at Wolf Run and the state at Empire Ranch.

Clearly Wolf Run is the better course, and should have been the state site. With so many inexperienced golfers in Northern Nevada, Empire Ranch would have been a better site for zone because there is less walking between holes and the course is flatter. It’s an easy walk.

I asked Wolf Run if it was clear the week of the state tournament, and it had nothing planned. Oh well, mistakes happen.

• According to several players at last week’s tournament, the entire Bishop Gorman team from Las Vegas came to practice at Empire Ranch recently. Those girls can play, and I hope that the NIAA will play from the white tees next week because if they play from the red tees, the course will be too easy for everybody.