Consistency is key when it comes to being the best on the golf course, and no team has been more consistent at winning than Heart River, but you wouldn’t know it by how much they’ve had to travel this year just to be at the top of their game.
When you arrive in South Heart, it’s made clear by every visitor that you are entering golf country. The Heart River Cougars have won 40 of their last 42 tournaments, but dealing with adversity in their own backyard.
“These girls have not had a golf course to play on for three years during the summer months,” says HC Kirby Robb. “So lack of playing time has been pretty minimal in the summers cause they work jobs.”
The Pheasant Country Golf Course has been under renovation, so the team has had to adapt, practicing in Killdeer and even Medora.
“I guess without a course, it’s been tough as to where to practice,” says Freshman Isabelle Haller “And then not knowing other courses very well. I don’t know, it’s been kind of tough.”
“We usually have to drive far places for practice and then we don’t get in much practice time,” says freshman Taylor Karsky. “So it’s kind of fun when we get to here at our own course.”
Players say sometimes they find out the day of where they are going to practice, but despite the miles on the road, the lessons learned through this process have reaped rewards.
“I think we all have had to adapt to just going out and playing different courses and spending a lot of time on the range,” says junior Grace Arthaud. “Versus what we had to do before we were playing. So I think we’ve adapted pretty well now that it’s our new normal.”
Just this week, the team got a chance to be back on the fairways in South Heart, a boost for their chance at redemption for last year’s second-place finish at state.
“It was tough last year, knowing that we only lost by one,” says Sophomore Megan Robb. “I think everybody took the blame really hard on themselves. Like, if I didn’t hit that in the water, I would’ve made my putt. I would’ve taken a little bit more time. It just proves that even without a golf course, we know how to fight and really put it together at the state tournament.”
“We’ve been looking at all the teams and seeing what they’ve been doing,” says Sophomore Jaci Reisenauer. “We know that we are pretty close and we know we can pull off another state championship.”
Heart River is using its experience of adaptability for the state tournament in Mapleton, a course they played once earlier this year.
“Hitting the driver straight off the tee is going to be essential,” says Kirby Robb. “Course management, there are some trouble out of bounds on the course. Elevated greens, we are looking forward to the challenge”
These players are soaking it all in, with a state title just a few good rounds away.
“This has been my favorite year of golf so far,” says senior Molly Robb. “Just because of the team and the team bond we have. I know we’ve been doing other stuff outside of golf hanging out with friends. It has just meant so much to me. It makes golf so much better for me to have that great blend and so a title with them would mean everything to me.”
The State Class B Tournament will play out in Mapleton at Maple River Golf Course, from September 25th through the 26th. The Cougars hoping to make it two out of the last three years winning a state title.