Ex-PGA pro pilots girls golf

Rollins Terry, EIC

Last year, the WHS girls golf team won its conference and placed fifth in regionals, just missing the fourth-place cut-off to make states. This spring, the girls are returning to the green and preparing to advance to states for the first time.

Although this team is not one of the best-known at WHS, it boasts an impressive profile. The Blue Devils have played at facilities like Trump National, and are coached by former PGA professional Katie Brenny.

Brenny played women’s golf at Wake Forest, and advanced to the professional league. She also worked for agencies and coached at the University of Minnesota. Now, she runs The First Tee of Essex County.

“I have a long history in the game, and have seen the golf business from almost all angles,” said Brenny.

Having access to Brenny is a huge perk for the WHS players.

“She can look at our swing and say, ‘You’re doing this wrong and we are going to do this to correct it,’” said senior captain Nina Pitre. “It’s like working with a private coach.”

Freshman Amanda White is looking forward to developing her skills with Brenny.

“I take lessons now and then, but to have someone there Monday through Thursday is going to help a lot,” she said.

To prepare, golfers focus on strength training and hands-on practice.

“The best thing we can do for the high school team is play golf,” Brenny said. “It’s harder to do than you would think, because it’s not like we have a basketball court that we can just use. We have to work with the private clubs.”

Senior captain Katie Encinas agrees. When asked the key to training a golfer, she said, “Repetition. Just getting out to the range and hitting consistently, and knowing how far each of your clubs goes.”

When the weather is below 50 degrees, the team does strength training in Cafeteria B.

“Your leg strength and core strength are what make you a good golfer because it helps your swing speed,” Pitre said.

Although the team trains together, their sport is individual.

“This year we are doing more to be closer as a team, like psych sisters and psych parties,” Encinas said. “Because in a match, you’re not seeing your fellow players on the course.”

The individual aspect of golf requires mental preparation. Sophomore Annie Cerria said, “You have to rely on yourself more, so it builds character.”

According to Brenny, golf is unique in that players are trying to beat the course rather than their opponent.

Encinas added, “It’s a tangible score that you are trying to beat, so it pushes you to want to do better and play more.”