Back to the greens

By: Mark Vest, | Woodward Talk | Published April 18, 2017

Of the nine golfers Ferndale High boys golf coach Maurice Telesford had on his team last season, he thinks only one or two had ever held a golf club in their lives.

Although boys golf wasn’t a new sport at Ferndale, from Telesford’s perspective, the program was starting from scratch.

Despite some of his responsibilities — including things like trying to make sure team members were respectful of the etiquette rules of golf, didn’t get hit by a club, or run onto the greens — Telesford’s first season as coach was a satisfying one.

 Ferndale High junior Winston Hart takes part in a match against Southfield A&T in the first match of the season. After not winning a match last year, the Eagles opened with a victory against the Warriors.

Ferndale High junior Winston Hart takes part in a match against Southfield A&T in the first match of the season. After not winning a match last year, the Eagles opened with a victory against the Warriors.

Photo by Donna Agusti

“It was much more intense than I anticipated, but fulfilling to see the progress (the) kids made from the beginning to the end of the season,” he said.

This year, Telesford said there are 16 golfers on the team. He attributed the increase in numbers to the boys having a lot of fun last season and getting the opportunity to play in a low-pressure environment, where the focus was more on improvement than winning matches.

You can count junior Joe Burke — who captains the team along with John Stellard — as someone who enjoyed his first season playing golf for Ferndale.

“Every time we get together, we have fun,” Burke said. “We don’t really worry about, like, the super competitiveness. … (It’s) fun to be together.”

As for this year, Telesford would like to see the team’s improvement result in some victories.

Ferndale started off right, beating Southfield A&T April 13 in its opening match of the season. Last year, the Eagles were winless.

“This year, I’d be thrilled if (we) won one of our matches, maybe two of our matches,” the coach said prior to the victory. “I think that’d be tremendous progress for our program. In terms of scores in the short term, I would love it if our team average (was) in the low 50s or high 40s for nine holes.”

Junior Winston Hart discussed his goals for the Eagles.

“To win at least three matches, and for some of our players to make the tournament this year,” he said.

With golf being exposed to more students at the high school level and through exterior programs, Telesford thinks there is a better opportunity for Ferndale to gain some more experienced golfers in the years to come.

“I think golf is a very accessible sport, and I think Ferndale as a city has the ability to really teach the game from very young ages through high school,” he said. “We could really have a nice program that’s competitive at (the) state level.”

As far as the remainder of this season, Telesford may have good cause to be excited about Ferndale’s potential.

“I feel like maybe it’s because we have more kids and they’re learning from each other faster, but the second wave of kids we recruited this year, they are ahead of the curve compared to where we were last year,” he said. “So overall, (the) team, I think, is quite a bit stronger.”