Golf season underway but no postseason dampers start

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  • Nicholas Elias-Gillette of Hampshire Regional watches his drive on the third hole during a match against Holyoke, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Levi Zielinski of Hampshire Regional watches his drive on the third hole during a match against Holyoke, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Owen Lech of Hampshire Regional watches his putt on the third hole during a match against Holyoke, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • John Lavelle of Holyoke watches his drive on the third hole during a match against Hampshire Regional, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nicholas Elias-Gillette of Hampshire Regional takes a fairway shot on the second hole during a match against Holyoke, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Levi Zielinski of Hampshire Regional watches his fairway shot on the second hole during a match against Holyoke, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jacob Tassinari of Holyoke studies a putt on the first hole during a match against Hampshire Regional, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at Beaver Brook Golf Course. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cody West of Hopkins Academy watches his drive on the fourth hole during a match against Pioneer Regional, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at Holyoke Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jake Smith of Hopkins Academy chips to the green on the fourth hole during a match against Pioneer Regional, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at Holyoke Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Connor Asselin of Hopkins Academy putts on the fourth hole during a match against Pioneer Regional, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at Holyoke Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cody West of Hopkins Academy putts on the third hole during a match against Pioneer Regional, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at Holyoke Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Connor Asselin of Hopkins Academy watches his drive on the fourth hole during a match against Pioneer Regional, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at Holyoke Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Yurko of Northampton watches his drive on the first hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Galen Fowles of Northampton watches his drive on the second hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben O'Connor of Northampton watches his drive on the fourth hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Camille Richmond of Northampton watches her putt from the edge of the third hole green during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. She made the putt. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Galen Fowles of Northampton watches his drive on the third hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Yurko of Northampton takes his second shot on the second hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Yurko of Northampton lines up a putt on the third hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Galen Fowles of Northampton chips out of a sand trap on the first hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Galen Fowles of Northampton putts on the second hole during a match against West Springfield, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 at Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 10/1/2020 5:01:16 PM
Modified: 10/1/2020 5:01:06 PM

AMHERST — High school golf is underway this fall, but with the cancellation of the state tournament, the start of the season is bittersweet for both players and coaches.

The MIAA made a number of modifications to the rules for the sport, including free relief from bunkers, untouchable flagsticks and tee times separated by at least 10 minutes. But no change is bigger than the cancellation of the state tournament, according to players and coaches across the state.

“It’s very unfortunate because I think they could still safely do it, but they decided I guess it’s not worth the liability,” Easthampton golf coach Timothy McKenna said.

Easthampton made the tournament for the first time in over 10 years last season, and those on the team were eager to make another run at it.

“We were finally on the up and they were all excited about last year and now they’re like ‘ugh,’” he added.

While Amherst Regional will field teams in soccer, field hockey, girls volleyball and cross country, the school elected to not have golf this fall.

According to Amherst athletic director Victoria Stewart, the golf season was suspended due to the high usage of the team’s home course, Amherst Golf Club.

“Their membership numbers have gone up,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the decision was made because there was no realistic way for all the health protocols to be followed when they are sharing a course with the public.

As for new rule changes, Hopkins Academy coach Mark Krodel explained that the free relief from the bunker rule allows for the player to drop their ball with no penalty after they hit it into a disturbed area.

According to Krodel, the flagsticks should be no problem for players.

“I’ve been playing golf a long time, and I always left the pin in, it makes you play better,” he said.

Despite the rule changes and the cancellation of the state tournament, players are grateful to be out on the course again.

“By what I’ve seen so far the players are just happy to have a sport back,” said Krodel.

Dane Mulligan and Spencer Kligman are UMass students and members of Professor Steve Fox’s Sports Journalism class.



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