When Ali Bisaccia and Ashley Clark decided to approach the Champlain Valley Union athletic department about forming a girls golf team last season, they just wanted a spring sport to play.
They never really envisioned how big it would become.
After playing with just four girls last season, the Redhawks start the season on Friday with a 19-person team.
“I didn’t see it getting this big and starting off this fast,” Bisaccia, who will serve as team captain, said. “The jump from four [players] to 19 is huge.”
All of last year’s players will return this season, giving the group an experienced core of players coming into the season, who will likely play the bulk of the rounds for CVU. Bisaccia and Clark will be joined by Lauren Hanley and Kate McAllister, both of whom played last year.
“It was a chance for us to kickstart this program,” Clark said of the first season. “Now, we want to win.”
The rest of the group is made up of players who have never really played golf before, CVU coach Tammy Anthony said.
“Girls golf is underrepresented,” Clark said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to learn about the sport and get more involved and have more people interested.”
With such a diverse skill set, the Redhawks golf team has two sets of goals for the season. For the experienced group, winning CVU’s first-ever golf match and being competitive in the state final tournament is on the list.
For the newer players, Anthony is hoping to instill the basics of the game so they can keep hitting the links.
“We have been working with them, so now we can get on the course,” Anthony said. “They know what club to hit and the etiquette.”
Anthony took the reins as coach last year with a ton of golf experience under her belt. She was a member at Cedar Knoll Country Club in Hinesburg for many years and won the club championship twice.
Anthony is hoping to bring that experience to her players, both old and new, and get them to embrace the game.
“I love the game,” Anthony said. “I want everybody to play, I want everybody to learn the game.”
Now that the players have seen what just two seasons can do for girls golf, they have high hopes for the program going forward.
“I want to watch the team form into something that I didn’t think was possible,” Bisaccia said. “I just want to see it shape into something bigger. I want to see it take off.”