Royal Oak's New Golf Coach Builds Confidence
The Ravens girls varsity golf team sees steady improvement under new leadership.
Playing in the rain and extremely windy conditions didn’t prevent the Royal Oak High School girls varsity golf team from winning their OAA Blue Division match against Southfield at Normandy Oaks on Tuesday. The win, 215-253, extended the team’s record under new coach John Gibson to 5-0 in league standings.
Senior Summer North was the overall match medalist shooting the low score of 48. Seniors Dagney Gossett and Alyson Szydlowski, junior Ann Blessman and sophomores Asha Lewis and Alana Tyson, contributed to the Royal Oak victory.
North credits Gibson with helping her finally break 50 this season.
“Everyone has improved,” North said. “He has really helped me with my swing. It’s changed a lot.”
Before coming to Royal Oak, Gibson started a girls golf program at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills. Just three years after not having a program at all, Gibson led the Gazelles to a state tournament.
Gibson, who lives in Brighton and works for Ed Schmid Ford in Ferndale as an Internet administrator, learned of the opening in Royal Oak and welcomed the opportunity to lead the Ravens.
“They need to work on fundamentals and basics, but I see as much potential as any team I have ever had,” said Gibson. “I am seeing gradual improvement since we started. The consistency is getting better and I am glad I am here.”
Gossett said everyone’s short game has improved under Gibson. “Things are going really well,” said the senior captain. “We really like our new coach.”
One of the things Gibson is working on is building confidence. It’s the mental game that wears people out, he said.
Lewis is one of the Ravens the coach is watching develop self-assurance. The sophomore just started playing golf seriously this year. Her only previous experience was a golf clinic she participated in last fall.
“I took a lesson just to see if I liked it,” Lewis said. “This year I started playing seriously. Once I started working with Coach, I started making a lot of changes.”
Under Gibson’s guidance, her short game is “getting there,” she said.