Girls Golf: CSG zeroes in on mental side of game
The Columbus School for Girls golf team is looking to keep its focus as it pursues a second consecutive Division II state tournament berth.
Last season, the Unicorns earned their first state berth since 2008 by winning their first district championship. They then shot a 731 in the two-day state tournament to finish 10th of 12 teams behind champion Lima Central Catholic (647).
Coach Chris Ditello said his team's mental approach on the course has been the key to its success.
"The girls were there (at state) last season so they know they can reach their potential by grinding over every shot and working to hit the best shot that they can," Ditello said. "We have to make every shot matter. One shot doesn't ruin a hole and one hole doesn't ruin a round. You have to have a horrible short-term memory to be a good player. By the time you get to your next shot, you have to forget about the last one."
The postseason draw was Sept. 20, with CSG having the option of beginning the postseason in a sectional Monday, Sept. 28, at Blacklick Woods or Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Mill Creek. At sectional, the top three teams and top three individuals not on those teams advance to district Oct. 5 at Darby Creek.
At district, only the championship team and the top individual not on that team qualify for state Oct. 16 and 17 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
"Whether it's a 12-inch putt or 300-yard drive, every shot matters at the end of the day," Ditello said. "All I can ask of them is that they put forward their best effort and do the things we have worked on.
"We can control our routine. We can control our pre-shot thoughts, our in-swing thoughts and our thoughts once we make the shot. You are going to have bad hops and you will have putts lip out, but we can't control that. We have to focus on the things we can control. If you're careless, you'll find yourself with a number that you won't be happy with."
Entering the MSL-Ohio Division postseason tournament Sept. 22 at Westchester, the Unicorns were 12-0 in league play. They went 16-0 last fall in their first season in the league.
Senior Caroline Kromalic shot an 81 in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 11 at Turnberry to share medalist honors with Worthington Christian's Rena So. Kromalic said the mental game is as important as her swing.
"We have to make sure we're in a good mental state, and that you don't lose your mind in the middle of a round," she said. "You have to stay calm and relaxed even if you aren't playing your best.
"We started putting in more effort last year and I saw everyone improve. We all dropped our averages and got better. We just had the motivation."
Senior Kate Kramer had an 87 at Turnberry, and sophomore Emma Kim and her freshman sister, Madi Kim, both shot 92. Junior Sienna Basso-Schricker (113) and Ally Werstler (118) also participated.
The Unicorns shot a 352 at Turnberry, finishing ahead of Columbus Academy (373), Buckeye Valley (445), Worthington Christian (452) and Grandview (496).
"You're only as strong as your last (scorer)," Ditello said.
"You win and lose as a team and that means your (Nos.) 3, 4, 5 and 6 are so important. You have to rely on them to play to their potential every day. That one shot any player plays can make the difference. We have been stressing that all season."