“The biggest thing with the girls on the team this year is they’re very young,” Reed girls golf coach Danielle Fleiner said. “I lost eight seniors last year and two the year before, so I’ve lost 10 players out of 12 in the last two years. I’ve got a lot of girls that have never played golf before. Pretty much six out of my nine have never played golf, so this year is just a big learning year. We’re just learning the game of golf.”
Still, with just three days of practice officially under their belts, the green Raiders are showing signs of promise.
“They’re doing really good. They’re totally understanding it,” Fleiner said. “I think that’s the key for some of them. Four of my new girls are softball players, so they have that hand-eye coordination and that aggressiveness that I like. They understand the concepts of it, it’s just a matter of just putting it all together. All of them are going to be moving along probably quicker than the average beginner, which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping midway that we’re going to be doing a lot better. I think they’re going to surprise themselves.”
En route to hopefully surprising themselves, Fleiner said the focus on the links for the Lady Raiders is taking one step at a time.
“We’re setting small goals and trying to improve a little bit each day and getting comfortable with it. My returners have their goals to obviously improve. I have two that I expect to be out there playing in tournaments and that have a little higher expectations.
“Right now I don’t expect to have a team out there for the first tournament or two. It’s not fair to those girls and I don’t want them to get discouraged. Right now our goal is to find six players by the end of the year and to be out there competing. Part of it is just learning about the game and being comfortable and wanting to be a part of it.”
For the Raiders, part of the keys to finding their comfort is tied to finding a permanent home golf course for the season. While Reed’s host High Desert League tournament will be played at Reno’s Lakeridge Golf Course, the Blue and Gold do not have 18 holes to call home as they bounce between the links at Lakeridge, WildCreek and Hidden Valley.
“Lakeridge has definitely opened its doors to us and WildCreek is trying to balance us between everything that they have going on here. We are in negotiations and talks with Hidden Valley, like the boys had with them. I’m meeting with them next week so my goal is to have us between Lakeridge and Hidden Valley,” Fleiner said. “I appreciate WildCreek, but I know they get a lot of play out here. We do enjoy their little Par-3 course, so I would like to be able to keep my door open here to come over here once a week or something like that, but ideally I’d like to stay between Lakeridge and Hidden Valley.”
Regardless of where the Raiders are playing, Fleiner said she is looking forward to seeing the girls grow throughout the season.
“My thing is I love to see how these girls progress. That is what I’m most excited about, being able to look back on the beginning of the year and just see these girls that didn’t know the game,” Fleiner said. “These girls that are asking ‘Where is my putter?’ and ‘Which one’s my putter?’ and ‘Is this a wedge?’ and by the end of the year just on the course playing 18. I want them to play with confidence and know the rules and make consistent contact. I’m not worried about the score. Just to see progress, that’s what gives me chills. That’s what I’m excited for because there’s so much growth that can happen in this year. They have such blank slates right now which I love. I get to see what they are capable of.”