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Girls Golf’s successful season

By Avonlea Cummings

Hometown Weekly Sports Reporter

The Needham girls varsity program has been a part of the community for four years. Beginning in the year 2020, and starting play in 2021, the girls have come a long way from their first year as a club team. In their fourth year, and second season as a varsity team, the Rockets have had an outstanding spring, holding a regular season record of 9-1.

The Rockets have been led by head coach Laura Hasenfus, Needham High and golf team alum, for all four years. Hasenfus started the program in 2020 after a senior female athlete got the ball rolling into creating an all-girls golf team for Needham High. Coach Hasenfus has seen tremendous development not only in skill set but also in etiquette and passion for the sport. Gathering a group of 15 girls in their first year, the Rockets learned the basics of golf and began taking on the course with Hasenfus. However, it wasn’t just Hasenfus on the course with these fifteen beginners, as it takes a village. Members of the Needham Golf Club community hit the course with Hasenfus and the girls and helped the team along the way, teaching different skills and giving their best advice.

The following year, 21 kids tried out for the team, with one freshman coming onto the team with experience. The following year, 36 kids tried out and the team added another freshman with previous experience, and now this year, coach Hasenfus and her son, the team’s JV/assistant coach, Tim Hasenfus, saw 46 kids at tryouts for the 2023-2024 season. Throughout the years, the girls have been diligently putting time and effort into the sport at every practice and even during the off-season. All of their effort has paid off significantly on the course this season, and the team kicked off the season 6-0.

“We’ve had development throughout the past four years. We started with beginners, and then our second year we had a freshman come in who is now a junior, and she was very dedicated to getting better… The kids that were freshmen and are now juniors have all developed. Just as a team, we are very deep, that’s why we keep winning matches. It’s not just our top three golfers, we are winning the matches because we’re winning the fourth, fifth, to seventh and eighth matches. We’re a lot deeper than other teams,” said Hasenfus.

Aside from their talent and depth on their team, another goal Coach Hasenfus placed for this season was developing a strong camaraderie between the girls and building a team aspect on the course, despite golf being an individual sport.

With a 21-girl roster, the Rockets have four seniors, seven juniors, nine sophomores, and one freshman on the team. Each of these girls has been supportive of one another, often sharing advice from previous opponents they played earlier in the week, and strategizing together. Their bond has been one of the main contributors to their success this season. Another reason has been their positive attitude both on and off the course.

“The fact that we have the senior leadership and a strong group of juniors and the sophomores have stepped it up. I just have to say it's a great group of kids… They have fun and enjoy each other on the course and the bus, they’re just having a great time… The smiles and positive energy are there, which is what is making this season so successful,” said Hasenfus.

The girls often give back to the Needham Golf Club for the gracious time and space they give the girls to grow in the sport. The team will spend time over at the course filling up the divots in the course as a thank you. The Needham Golf Club community has been invested in the success of the team, and the members' support has been another factor in the girls’ confidence on the course. “Needham Golf Club has been outstanding in supporting us. They provide the practice areas; we use their locker room. In the beginning of the season, there were a lot of rainy, cold, snowy days, and they let us use the inside area, letting us work on our putting. It is nice to have a huge asset to this team and community as the Needham Golf Club, they’ve been outstanding. It’s fun to be there; they’re interested in how the team is doing,” said Hasenfus.

The Rockets will finish up their regular season this week, competing in two matches against Wellesley. They will be at home Tuesday, May 21, and will travel to play Thursday, May 23.

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