SHEPHERDSVILLE - Boys’ golf on Bullitt County is going through some changes in 2012 as two of the three programs have new coaches.
What hasn’t changed is that all the teams will continue to call the Heritage Hill Golf Course home for this season. That is always good news, especially after there were questions about the courses future over the winter.
At North Bullitt, Chris Kelly has taken over the boys’ program from Brian Courtney and he has eight players on the team. Long-time Bullitt Central head coach Shane Popplewell stepped down and he was replaced by Clay Harned.
Bullitt East returns Kyle Downs as the head coach for his third season.
The major local events of the season will be the Bullitt/Hardin Challenge which has shifted to a one-day event and will be contested at Heritage Hill next Wednesday. During the last week of the regular season, there will be the Two-County Cup event with Spencer County taking part. The event will start at Tanglewood Golf Course and then shift to Heritage Hill for the final day.
Downs has high hopes for this Charger team despite some heavy graduation losses. The good news is that the program has 18 players and quite of few of those could be considered for the five spots in the major matches this season.
“We are deeper now than we have ever been,” Downs said. “It’s very good. We can go 12 to 14 players deep who can shoot under 100. The future does look good.”
The program includes three seniors and there are seven juniors.
Bullitt East did not take an early season trip out of state, but the team did increase the number of major 18-hole events that it will participate in. The team will play in seven Saturday events including the John Hardin Invitational this week which will be played at the Lindsey Golf Course at Fort Knox, the site of this year’s 3rd Region Tourney in early October.
While Downs is quick to say that he does not have a set five-man line-up at this point, he is sure that junior Michael Murphy will play as his number one man this fall.
“We change it weekly,” the coach said of the line-up. “We go out every week and practice. It’s based on average and who is playing well at the time. There are 12 players who could play on any given day.”
At least early in the season, the starting line-up included Murphy at number one with senior Dillon Sego in the number two position. The rest of the rotation had junior Wes Taylor playing number three, senior Tyler Wood in fourth and junior Josh Lane playing at number five.
Downs is not ruling out making a run at the regional crown at the end of the season.
“Right now we’re just trying to get better every day,” the coach said. “We’re really just working toward the post-season. We want to get better and win tournaments.
“This team has the potential to be as good or better than last year,” Downs added. If we focus on golf then I really like this team and where we are. By the end we’ll be ready to compete.”
The Eagles lost not only Courtney, but also the county’s best player last season, senior Brandon Goeing.
Now, Kelly steps into a rebuilding job. He is building around returning senior Austin Reynolds and he has high hopes for freshman Camden Davenport.
Early in the practice rounds, Reynolds was shooting in the low 40s,but the rest of the team was struggling to get under 50.
The team is working on conditioning as much as anything at this point under Kelly who has been an assistant baseball coach at North Bullitt the past few seasons.
“We’ve been out on the course and walking it just to get them in shape,” the coach said. “Some of the kids have been sitting on the couch too much this summer. It’s good to get them to play.”
Six of the eight players were in the program last year. At this point, Kelly has penciled Reynolds into the number one position with senior Evn Simms playing at number two. Senior Justin Clayton will handle the number three slot. That will put junior Justin Stinson at number four with Davenport at number five.
Sophomore Matthew Weiss will challenge for one of those top positions.
Kelly is just taking it slow at this point.
“The number one goal is to get the program doing in the right direction to get more kids out,” the coach said. “I want to see the kids get better. We have some athletic kids who play baseball and basketball. The athletic side is there, they just need to learn the game.”
Bullitt Central is also going through some rebuilding pains under Harned as only three of the eight players in the program are back from last season.
That means that seniors Casey Goins and senior Cody Powell will man the top two spots. The third returning player is sophomore Alex Nusz. Those players could have strong seasons. After those three, there are question marks.
When the season started last week, Harned had freshman Jake Cox plahing in the number four position with Pierce Frye, a sophomore, playing at number five.
“I just want to build up the program,” Harned said of a program that he played for up through 2001. We have to get out and recruit and get it back to a strong fall sport.”
Nusz, whose older sister Katie played in three state tournaments while playing for Bullitt East, has the potential to be a strong player.
“For the regional we want to get there and have fun and keep the kids up,” Harned said. “It’s easy to get depressed with golf. We just want to shoot decent and have fun.”