Boys golf team makes the cut

Team is ready to take a swing on the season


Liam Mathews

(From left to right) Andrew Agne, Evan Braniff, and Trevor DeButch line up to putt in a JV practice.

Rahim Kouferidji, Story Editor

Through August 12 and 13, tryouts for RB golf were held at the Carriage Greens golf course. Although golf has been a sport at RB for decades, something seemed different at this year’s tryouts:

We had 48 students tryout this year; the most we’ve ever had!” said Jim Festle, head varsity golf coach at RB. “We ended up keeping 33 players [between both junior varsity and varsity], with 20 freshmen and sophomores involved.  Coach Herbeck [the JV coach] and I are very excited about the prospects of this year.”

With the massive turnout at this year’s tryouts, Festle and Herbeck were forced to make cuts on who could be on the team. With a limit of participants for each match, having too many players would be unnecessary.

“We are always limited to the number of people that you can bring to a match. The most that can ever play in a match is 14. Every week, we lose daylight and some of the players still don’t finish before dark. Also, our practice facility limits the amount of space we can use,” said Festle.

Despite the size of the team, Festle does not think that the roster cuts will have an impact on every player’s ability to contribute.

“It is still the largest boys golf team in the area.  We can still get every player into at least two matches.  We’ve had similar numbers in the past,” said Festle.

Festle, who has been coaching golf for 30 years and at RB for four years, cites that the team has a good, young core this year.

We have a number of freshmen and sophomores that will play like the pros. . . Coach Herbeck and I are very optimistic for a great season.  The program is definitely in a great place,” said Festle

For the players, the increase in competition during tryouts proved to be a different experience than in years past.

“I was a little nervous, but I think that playing last year helped my chances out . . . I was a little rusty, and I should have practiced a little more in the summer . . . I wasn’t surprised [on making the cut], but I was happy and thankful they put me on the team,” said senior Ben Udelson, a member of the varsity team this year.

After suffering an injury that did not allow him to play soccer last year, Udelson looked for an alternative and turned to golf. He was a member of the varsity team the previous year, where approximately 20 fewer people had tried out. 

Although many had returned to the sport, some former players decided not to try out this year, including senior Ben Harrison.

“I [initially] did golf [at RB] mainly because it was going to be a good opportunity to play golf and further myself. I had friends on the team, so that was the main driver. I don’t think I ever would have done it if I didn’t have a couple of my pals and buds just there to hang out with, “ said Harrison, who was a member of the varsity squad in 2018.

Not knowing if he was necessarily skilled at the sport enough to make it through roster cuts, Harrison decided not to try out this year because he was not fond of the formal and strict nature of the matches.

Although he no longer plays for RB, he still plays golf and will miss being able to spend time with his friends while doing something he enjoys. He does however like the additional free time he now has because he is not a member of the team. Either way, he wishes the team luck this year. 

Varsity golf faced off today against Brother Rice and Latin at 4:00 PM at Calumet Country Club. The team will face some tough challenges this year, but Festle is confident that they can make waves this season.

“St. Francis and Wheaton Academy are perennial teams that come close to going downstate.  Having a winning record and possibly advancing our team to sectionals are some realistic goals this season,” said Festle.