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Girls golf: First-year coach wants golf to be fun

Rob Carpentier is beginning his first year as head girls golf coach. He also coached the Farmington girls soccer team to a winning record last fall.

How long have you played golf? What is your background in the sport? Have you ever had a hole-in-one?

I've played golf for about 35 years.  When I was in high school I was a member of the varsity team for my freshman and sophomore years before I went to tennis.  I shoot usually in the low 80s unless I am playing quite a bit in the summer and then can break 80 about half the time.  Of course when I play the first time in a year my goal is to just break 90.  All duffers understand that one.  I have coached the sport individually in the past but this is my first go-around as a team coach.  My best round ever was actually at Southern Hills long before I came to FHS.  I shot a 74 and that was with a double bogey on the last hole.  Darn water!  I had a hole-in-one on a small pitch and putt course back home in New Jersey about 25 years ago.  The hole was about eight yards, so I don't know if that counts.

How does coaching an individual sport like golf compare with coaching a team sport like soccer? 

There is some team strategy with regards to golf in that the girls really need to keep a larger perspective than just their own score.  One bad shot that costs one golfer two or three strokes can cost the team a place at sections.  I tend to stress more conservative play when they are golfing as a team.  There is much more of an individual aspect, though, and that allows me to work with individual girls on shot making, stance, etc.

What will a typical day of practice consist of with you as the new head coach?

Warm up on the putting green and some close-in chips followed by a nine-hole round.  Those waiting to tee use the driving range while those teeing off first come to the range to work on some things when their round is over.  Roughly every other practice we will use only the putting green and the range and try and transfer what we've learned to the next day's round, be it practice or live play.  Finally there will be a lot of stretching involved.  I want the girls to realize that the more limber they are the better they will shoot and the easier it will be to make the various swings.

Who are some of the golfers you expect to contribute to the varsity team this year?

There are only two returners with any real varsity experience.  Senior Alexia Rains and junior Terra Klima.  We have a lot of girls out so I'm hoping that the enthusiam they have displayed up until now will translate out on the course.

What are your goals for the program and what do you want your athletes to get out of their time as a member of the golf team?

I want the girls to have fun. That's the biggest thing.  Without it golf can become very mundane.  I want the girls to be very supportive of each other and know that this is a team, not a bunch of individuals.  In terms of competition, I'd like to build some depth to the squad so that the girls push each other to be better both in the season and the off-season.