Chatham High School has a new sport for the second time in this academic year.
Three fathers—Larry McCann, Mark Howard-Johnson and Andrew Gyves—presented their case for a girls golf team at the high school. After gaining approval from the Recreation Committee, Board Vice President Tom Belding put forth the motion for the board to approve the team.
The board approved unanimously.
McCann, who has three daughters of his own, said that though a co-ed golf team exists at the high school already, the team made the girls play at a significant disadvantage.
“The girls don’t really have a chance at the co-ed team because they have to play with the men’s rules,” McCann said. “That means men’s lengths, men’s scores, etcetera.”
Because girls typically have less upper body strength compared to boys, it takes them more strokes to reach the same distance.
“Maybe once ever 20 years a girl comes along who is good enough to make it in the men’s league,” McCann said. The girls on the team, he said, “had great experiences, but it’s more like a social experience for them. They just didn’t get a chance to compete.”
McCann said that he and his counterparts used the proposal for the fencing team, which was approved in the autumn of 2010 and is now in the middle of its first season, as a financial model for the new golfing team.
The Chatham Athletic Boosters and Chatham Athletic Foundation, McCann said, offered their support. “They were flabbergasted that we didn’t have a women’s golf team,” McCann said.
McCann’s oldest daughter is now a sophomore at Bucknell University, and he admits that he “missed the curve” with her. He doesn’t want to miss it with his middle daughter, Caroline, 16.
In pursuing the creation of a girls golf team, McCann, Gyves and Howard-Johnson hope to give the girls a chance to play on the course and not just socialize.
“We don’t have any golfing prodigies necessarily, that wasn’t what was driving this,” McCann said. “This was really more just an opportunity for the girls to get to play at this level, and maybe open up some doors at the next level as well.
The golf team, like the fencing team, will be a parent-funded sport, though McCann said they have received donations from the Chatham Athletic Boosters and the Chatham Athletic Foundation. “[Golf] doesn’t require a lot of equipment,” McCann said, so “we didn’t have a whole lot of start-up cost.”