In Full Swing


Nixa Girls Golf

The Nixa Girls Golf team.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in March, all spring sports were canceled before they even started, as school went virtual for the rest of the year. Now that school is back in session, girls golf is getting back into full swing.
Junior Kailey Tate has been in the golf program for two full seasons, and she said not once has she regretted it.
“We always find a way to have a good time,” Tate said. “We create so many fun memories and have a bunch of laughs.”
Although the team finished last in the COC last year, Tate has high expectations for herself and other members of the team.
“There are some girls on our team that could most definitely qualify for State, so I’d say a big goal for our team is to get those girls there,” Tate said. “We also want to focus on scoring lower and placing higher as a team in varsity tournaments.”
Coach Jeff Lotz has already seen many of the improvements on the golf course, even before the season started.
“As a team, the girls scored 104 strokes better than they did in last year’s Seymour tournament,” Lotz said. “Several golfers have already taken big steps from last year.”
Lotz is confident going into this year, and he sees improvements in even his best golfers on the team.
“That same day at the Seymour tournament, Tate improved by 19 strokes over last year and had her personal best score,” Lotz said. “I would say that is an improvement. The whole team has had some very productive practices and worked on their game in the offseason, so it is nice to see them experience favorable results.”
Tate acknowledged the improvements in her game and gave all of the credit to Lotz.
“In Lotz’s words, ‘The only shot that matters is the next one,’ ” Tate said. “I’ve definitely gotten better at recovering and getting over mistakes.”
Sophomore Karsen Tunell said she believed that the team has made a positive impact on her life.
“For me, joining the team wouldn’t be a mistake at all,” Tunell said. “Everyone is just fun to play with and hang around.”
Both Tunell and Tate said Lotz has helped them get better in dramatic ways over the past year.
“Lotz has taught me everything I know,” Tate said. “He never gets angry at a bad shot, and he’s super fun to be around.”
Tunell agreed.
“Lotz can be a big dork at times and it makes all of us laugh,” Tunell said. “I wouldn’t trade him for another coach.”
For Lotz, one thing stands out above all else when it comes to coaching his aspiring team.
“My favorite thing about being a coach is seeing improvement and connecting with the players,” Lotz said. “Building team chemistry is a big goal of ours.”
Another key goal of the team is to improve its standing in the COC. After finishing last in the conference last year, this is important for them to accomplish.
“We went from third from the bottom last year to third place at the Seymour tournament,” Lotz said. “Moving into the top four in the COC and having one to three state qualifiers are key goals for us.”
Lotz sees a lot of positives in his team, and with the atmosphere he’s creating, it shouldn’t be long before those goals are met.
“As a coach, I’ve learned that they have very good attitudes and they’re not concerned about who gets credit for good team performance,” Lotz said. “They also appear to have plenty of fun. Maybe too much sometimes.”