The calendar has turned to April, springing us right into the golf season and the Lakeland golf team has a lot of fire power coming back. The team began its practice on Monday, March 25, where they broke down the rules and had a team meeting on how the season would shape.

Now the real fun begins. The first match of the season is approaching and coach Scott Howard could not be more excited. 

“Coming off a year of winning regional sectionals and being top three in state, our expectations are high,” Howard said.

This year they return three of the four best golfers in the conference. Ansen Nomm, the reigning Great Northern Conference player of the year, is back and ready to go. He scored 60 1/2 points at the conference meet last year and won the event.

Also back is Kyle Bengtson. He placed second at the conference meet with 54 points, and went on to tie for third individually at the WIAA?Division 2 state golf meet. Behind him and placing fourth at the meet was Adam Lazaroff. He scored 42.50 points.

Jake Collins is also back scoring 16 points and placing ninth in conference. But just because you had success last year, doesn’t mean you can duplicate it.

“It’s a new year and just because you did something last year and because your capable doesn’t mean you’re going to do it,” said Howard, the reigning GNC golf coach of the year.

With all their individual success comes team success. They placed first in conference winning every single conference tournament for a total of 49 points. Medford was closest with 40 1/2 points and placing third was Mosinee with 31 1/2 points.

There is also a mental side to golf. Not only will they be focusing on their craft, perfecting their swings, but also on the rules side of it. With all the new United States Golf Association (USGA) changes in 2019, they want to be ready.

“We’re going to work a lot on mental stuff, too, as far as staying in the moment, staying in the game. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself,” Howard said.

In addition to who is back, the team will also be adding in some new freshman that have playing experience. Some of those freshman include Kaeden Nomm, Teag Wagner and Cody Olson. 

As this golf season begins, look for the Thunderbirds to make this spring a hole-in-one.

Their first match is at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at Ashland.

Brett LaBore may be reached at brett@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.