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Sandy Journal

Alta golfers had a positive 2016

Oct 28, 2016 11:28AM ● By Billy Swartzfager

Alta High School’s 2016 golf team. (James Falls/Alta High School)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]

Sandy, Utah - The boys golf team at Alta High School recently finished the 2016 season. The state tournament was Oct. 3 and 4 at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway, Utah. The Hawks had a team goal of reaching the tournament as a team and qualifying to play as a team past the first round of cuts. Alta didn’t quite accomplish the second part of their 2016 goals, as only Junior Kayleb Barton played on day two of the tournament.

The weather on the first day of the state tournament was terrible according to Head Coach Cody Nesbit, and contributed to much higher scores than anticipated. Senior McKay DowDell, who had played both days at state the previous two seasons, didn’t quite make the cut to play on day two this time around. Seniors Easton Egan, Jake Taylor and Noah Plowman also struggled with the weather and played only the first day at state. Kayleb scored a 77 on day one and an 81 on day two to finish in the middle of the pack with a 158 over both days. He also medaled in the region tournament, placing ninth.

Though the state tournament was tough on the Hawks, the team had a great year, spending time together and really building camaraderie and supporting one another while on the course and elsewhere.

“My players love spending time together on the bus rides to events. They love to compete amongst each other at different events. They love to play new courses that bring new challenges,” Nesbit said.

Many of Alta’s golfers have been playing together on a varsity level since they were sophomores and have been able to get to know each other’s ins and outs well enough to be a tight-knit group of kids, though they are very diverse in things they are passionate about off the golf course.

“They are also a diverse group of athletes; I have two soccer players, two baseball players and a kid who is an avid snow skier,” Nesbit said, “They are well rounded, also great kids in the classroom.”

According to the coach, these young men can focus on their shortcomings and know how to spend time working on them. Every practice for an Alta golfer is a practice with a purpose. Each golfer will assess their biggest areas in need for improvement and will deliberately spend a lot of time developing that particular skill, whether it be reaching greens or getting off the tee well. Everyone spends time on the short game, Nesbit said.

“Short game is a must at every practice!” he said. “This is where you make up the most shots of your round. Putting, chipping and more putting.”

Alta’s upperclassmen had a tough ending to the season this year, not meeting their own expectations. But they have gotten more from playing together than wins could provide. They have cultivated a love of golf that will likely last a very long time and have developed friendships that will, hopefully, last just as long. 

The tradition with Alta golfers is to play well in region and represent themselves well at state. The upperclassmen did that together this season, while also setting an example for those who will follow. Freshman Brant Butterfield played at this year’s state tournament and shot an 84, better than many older kids on the course that day. 

“That 84 in state will help him continue the tradition of Alta competing in the region and making it to state,” Nesbit said of Brant’s state tournament debut.