Wolverine golf squad improving as hoopsters transition from court to course

The two new faces atop the Polk County High School golf program are dealing with an old problem – getting multi-sport athletes into playing condition as quickly as possible.

Polk County coaches Trey Dusenbury and Jim Hemphill are in their initial season overseeing the Wolverine golf squad. Dusenbury thinks the team has potential to be a factor in the Western Highlands Conference race, but with more than half of his starting group moving over from another sport, it may be a while before that promise is realized.

“Three of our first five are basketball players, so they’re a little rusty,” Dusenbury said. “We’ve been practicing a lot and getting them ready.”

One player who has quickly begun to round into form is senior Will Ballard, one of those three basketballers. Ballard posted a nine-hole total of 39 at Tryon Country Club in the season’s first match, earning medalist honors there, and also took medalist honors last week at Meadowbrook with an 80, that match including all WHC schools.

Senior Jaron Bontrager, junior Tanner Garrett and freshman RJ Weathers look likely to join Ballard in four of the team’s five starting spots. Zane Capozzi, Daniel Weathers and Andrew Suber-Brown have also placed in the top five this season for Polk County.

“RJ Weathers is a freshman, but I think he’s going to be a good player for us,” Dusenbury said. “Tanner Garrett and Jaron Bontrager have worked really hard. The more we’re practicing, the better we’re getting and we’re getting the kinks out.

“Will Ballard has already been medalist in two of our matches. Hendersonville’s number one player, Alex Yarborough, I think he and Will should battle it out each match for medalist.”

Dusenbury expects Hendersonville to be the squad to beat in the WHC race; in three matches including the Bearcats so far this season, Polk has placed behind Hendersonville each time. The Wolverines own a 9-5 record thus far, a good start for the new coaches.

“Jim is a former golf pro and teaching professional, and I played high school golf and played in college,” Dusenbury said. “We’re using what we’ve learned over the years to try to teach them. We’re doing a lot of drills and so on.

“I think things have gone pretty well so far.”

Here’s a look at how the Polk County golf team has fared to date:

March 4
Tryon Country Club (9 holes)
Team scores: Hendersonville 176, Polk County 188, Owen 203, Madison 220
Individual leaders: Will Ballard (Polk) 39, Alex Yarborough (Hendersonville) 40
Polk County scores: Will Ballard 39, Jaron Bontrager 47, RJ Weathers 48, Tanner Garrett 54, Daniel Weathers 56

March 6
Crooked Creek (9 holes)
Team scores: Hendersonville 166, Polk County 188, Owen 203, Madison 220
Individual leaders: Kelton Mills (Hendersonville) 39, Zach White (Hendersonville) 40
Polk COunty scores: Will Ballard 42, Jaron Bontrager 42, RJ Weathers 49, Tanner Garrett 58, Zane Capozzi 55

March 11
Meadowbrook Golf Club (18 holes)
Team scores: Hendersonville 342, Polk County 354, Avery 355, Mitchell 359, Mountain Heritage 368, Owen 388, Madison 422
Individual leaders: Will Ballard (Polk) 80, Alex Yarborough (Hendersonville) 81
Polk County scores: Will Ballard 80, Jaron Bontrager 88, RJ Weathers 91, Tanner Garrett 95, Zane Capozzi 105

March 13
Village Greens (9 holes)
Team scores: Chapman 169, Polk County 206
Individual leader: Seth Robertson (Chapman) 37
Polk County scores: Will Ballard 41, Jaron Bontrager 50, Tanner Garrett 55, Zane Capozzi 60, Daniel Weathers 61, Andrew Suber-Brown 61