Published: March 2, 2014
Waiting around for the first tournaments of the high school girls' golf season to be called up to the tee box, Rampart coach Brad Keating is just thankful his team can take part in practice rounds without any obstacles.
It's a luxury not every area team will have this season. The closures of north-side golf courses King's Deer Golf Club and Gleneagle Golf Club have left some Colorado Springs high school girls' golf teams struggling to find a place to practice their swings.
And with only a handful of 18-hole public courses left in Colorado Springs, the solution does not appear to be an easy one.
PGA professional Keating, who found a place for the Rams' team at his employer's course (Springs Ranch Golf Club), echoed the sentiment of numerous area coaches who are all worried about the state of girls' golf.
Headed into the 2014 season, Keating said he doesn't know how some area teams will sustain consistent practice with all of the golf courses that already have closed their doors, as well as deal with the other course closings that may soon follow.
"When a lot of these courses were built they were hoping for $40-$60 fees for a round of 18 - but people weren't coming. So they had to drop it," Keating said. "And with $25-$35 fees, some courses are just getting by.
"And just because a lot of these high school teams lost their golf course, it's not like they can just go to another one real easily. These places need to make money to survive, and having teams take over the course at 3 in the afternoon isn't always the best way for them to do that."
Instead of tossing its girls' golf programs to the curb, however, most area schools are trying to adapt.
For some schools, that's meant a quick fix. Rampart's and Lewis-Palmer's girls' programs moved to Springs Ranch and Monument Hill Country Club, respectively - a decision that may be more problematic in the fall for the boys' season when golf courses are in higher demand to the general public.
"We don't know what's going to happen with everything," Rangers coach Nate Strycker said. "With these closing, it's tough to know the future. We'll just do our best."
And for other school programs, it's a work in progress. The Classical Academy coach Bob Gravelle said the Titans will pay greens fees at Eisenhower Golf Course to get some practice this season.
"Usually each girl pays a lump sum to play at their home course," Gravelle said. "But this year, we'll have to try out some things and see what happens."
Area tournaments start in mid-March.