Mackenzie Strange takes a shot from the tee box during the Majettes’ Thursday morning practice at Souris Valley Golf Course.
“I want to get out and I want to see the hand we’ve been dealt.”
Minot High head girls’ golf coach Scott Foltz is chomping at the bit to get the new season underway. His team is gearing up for another run at the North Dakota Class A State tournament, and the squad will be looking to build the foundation for a new era in the program’s history after a decades-long streak was snapped last year.
Before falling short of qualifying last year, the Majettes had made an appearance in 18 consecutive Class A state tournaments, winning two of their 12 total state titles in that span in 2008 and 2009.
The stumble last year was precipitated by a sudden departure of confidence among the team, Foltz said, even on its home turf, Souris Valley Golf Course, in the Minot Invite Sept. 18. The Majettes came away with an aggregate 352 final score, good enough for third place but eight above Mandan’s invite-low mark of 344.
The Majettes did not win any of the eight tournaments in which they participated, but the squad did manage to place as high as second on two occasions during the first two invites in Jamestown and Bismarck. The team ultimately finished third in the West Region Tournament but missed their chance at state.
A return to what has proved successful in the past is the most effective remedy for Minot’s 2020 issues, Foltz explained.
“A good way in golf to regain your confidence is to take a longer club or something that’s going to feel good in your hands, and choke down a little bit,” he explained. “Hit a club that you’re confident in. Take your time on the putting green and breathe. If you believe in yourself, whatever skills you have will show.”
As the Friday morning 2021 season-opener draws nearer, Foltz admits that the team is still a “work in progress,” but it has not changed his lofty aspirations and goals for the Majettes this year.
“We returned four kids who played some varsity golf for us last year, but we’re really finding out who we are right now, what we’re good at and what we need to work on,” Foltz said. “We’re trying to anticipate all possible situations that we could run into on our first course, which is a very challenging course.”
Minot will begin the new campaign at Garden Gate Golf Course in Dunseith, North Dakota, a course that features narrow fairways and dense pockets of trees. The course will provide the Majettes quite an early test, and should help Foltz better determine the strengths and weaknesses of his team.
To prepare for the early challenge, Foltz has instructed the girls to work heavily at improving the “short game.”
“Every golfer would tell you that it’s around the green,” he added. “You have to be able to putt and chip. Most golfers can get to the green, but that’s where most of your strokes are going to come. We’re going to spend a lot of time around the green, putting and chipping, getting that 80-yard range, and doing some pitching.”
Returning this year will be Avery Falcon, Addison Sorenson, Mackenzie Strange and Cali Wilson. Sorenson and Wilson made individual appearances at the state tournament last season to represent the Majettes, the latter finishing 35th in the state with an overall score of 179 through the two rounds.
Complementing the returning talent will be varsity newcomers Morgan Strange, Mackenzie’s sister, and Sidney Ressler. The six will complete the team through at least the first two tournaments, Foltz said, but he stressed that the program is continuously looking to add more girls into the rotation.
“We’re always looking to add more,” he said. “I think a rotation of golfers is a good thing, because that means that kids are pushing each other and they’re playing better.”
Foltz noted that he already has about 30 other girls with ambitions to join the team, and that he and his staff will make it a priority to add more depth as the season progresses.
In the meantime, the team will lean on the experience of the returning quartet of players as it looks to establish a new identity with a younger core. Foltz is excited to begin play in the regular season and help the girls fine-tune their skills to make a return to the biggest stage in North Dakota high school golf.
“Expectation number one, as every year, is we want to make the state tournament,” he remarked. “I want to see how we match up against the other teams, and where we need to go from here.”
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