Golf can be one of the more pressure-packed sports out there, as competitors are regularly thrust into the spotlight with the knowledge that one bad shot could permanently spoil his or her chance at success.
But that isn’t a problem for West Forsyth’s boys’ team. No, the Wolverines, constantly joke around and make fun of each other, bringing a laid-back mentality to the course.
You can’t argue with the results.
West is currently enjoying its most memorable season to date, and will compete in the Class AAAAAA championship on Monday at Champions Retreat, several miles from Augusta National.
This marks the furthest West has ever advanced.
"We’re very excited for state," said head coach Chris Roy. "We’re very thrilled and very honored to be here. I’m extremely proud of our boys for how hard they’ve worked to achieve this—not just for themselves individually, but for their school, as well."
After breaking a school record with an overall score of 311 in the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament, the Wolverines punched a ticket to the state championship with a solid showing at sectionals and now have a chance to establish themselves as one of the better programs in Georgia.
"I feel pretty confident (going into Monday)," said senior Drew Adams. "There’s no pressure, because there’s nothing past state. We’re not playing for fun, but we’re going to have fun."
"We have a lot left to prove," said Robert Shaw. "We’re still the new guys in town, so we have a chance to do something special this year.
"It helps that we mess around with each other all the time. Golf is a mental game, so you have to be mentality tough. Messing with each other helps us on the course when it really matters."
Shaw has had himself quite the season. His 74 at the region tournament got him on the all-region team, and he broke the school’s individual record at the second annual Wolverine Invitational with a 1-under 71, earning low medalist honors.
He replicated that score again at sectionals, helping the Wolverines move on despite a less-than-stellar showing.
Shaw leapfrogged his friend and former teammate Walker Slaton for the best score in school history, which makes it all the more significant. The two played together for several years, and Slaton has since expressed how proud he is of West’s development.
Slaton went to state as an individual, but never before has West gone that far as a group. Not until now. So even though the Wolverines hope to do well on Monday, advancing this far is an achievement worth noting in and of itself — no matter the result.
"I know it’s going to be a very tough field," Roy added. "I told them that in the end, one day will not change how I feel about them. I just hope we can go out and perform our best."