Throughout the years, girls at Newtown High School have had the option to grab their clubs and hit the fairways and greens with the boys. For the first time, there’s a girls-only squad at NHS. It may be a club team, but it’s their own team, and Bill Flood, who will coach the golfers along with Jeremy O’Connell, is hopeful it’s the start of something big.
Flood, who serves as vice president of the Connecticut Professional Golfers’ Association, and is slated to take over as president in the fall, notes that there is an initiative to grow the activity of golf in the state, especially with females. Some of the smaller towns in the South-West Conference have schools with girls’ programs, and Flood is excited that Newtown is joining the ranks. He’s hopeful that Newtown High’s team will have varsity status in a year.
When it was announced that there would be a club team, 18 girls showed up for tryouts. Flood, regretfully cut the prospective roster down to ten in order to ensure enough course time for the top players. They’ll practice at Rock Ridge Country Club like the boys, also coached by Flood and O’Connell, who serves as an assistant.
Flood knew the interest was there, but he was pleasantly surprised by the level of talent among Newtown High girls.
“I was stunned at what we have here. We have a lot of girls that can play, and we didn’t know that,” he said. “It’s my belief that if this team was in the conference now we’d be right in the middle of the pack.”
For now, the club team is set to play somewhere between four and eight matches against other SWC and some FCIAC schools. Parents contribute to some of the team expenses, including buses for competitions. Rock Ridge, where Flood serves as the head golf professional, provides course time.
Olivia Ingham, Molly Wilson, Caroline Tanner, Caitlin Filiato, Brenna Kelly, Laurel Jones, Hannah Logan, Molly Wilson, Allie Indeilcato, and Kayla Ward comprise the team.
“It’s really nice because I want to continue in college,” said Ingham, a senior, who is headed to Costal Carolina University in Conway, SC next year.
Ingham said she believes the team stands a good chance, should it get to varsity status, of contending for a South-West Conference title next year.
“These girls are all really talented,” Ingham said.
Logan, a sophomore, potentially has a few seasons of high school golf ahead.
“I’m really excited,” Logan said. “I really think it’s fun.” Logan adds that she’s hopeful the club squad will go varsity next year.
For now, the chance to compete at the club level, and gain experience on the course is welcomed by the Nighthawks.
“It’s something we’ve been looking to start for quite some time now,” O’Connell said.