JV Teams: Why No Golf?

Joshua Levine, Copy Editor

November 13, 2023

The Nobles Varsity Golf team is competitive, only keeping eight or nine players each spring with no junior varsity (JV) team. This fall, ten students tried out for the golf team, in addition to the six returning players, meaning only three of the ten non-returners will play for the team. This year, the team includes trailblazer Irini Kolovos (Class I): “I’m the first girl on the team since 2016,” she said.

The Nobles Varsity Golf team is co-ed, as are most teams in the Independent Sports League (ISL); Middlesex is the rare example of an ISL school with a dedicated girls’ team. This year was Kolovos’ second time trying out for the golf team, after trying out during her junior year and, unfortunately, not making the cut. “I’m excited because I like playing golf! I’ve never played on a competitive golf team before,” Kolovos said.

However, the question still remains: why doesn’t Nobles have a JV Golf team? There’s a JV team for nearly every other sport; some–Boys’ Soccer and Basketball–even have thirds’ teams. Kolovos said, “There are definitely enough people to form a JV Golf team at Nobles.”

The answer boils down to a series of scheduling issues. Nobles Varsity Golf practices at Walpole Country Club, and they play their matches at Dedham Country and Polo Club. “We have real restrictions at the places we play golf [regarding] the number of tee times that they will give us,” Director of Athletics Alex Gallagher (N ‘90) said. These country clubs must cater to their members, in addition to Nobles’ team, and thus, they cannot offer Nobles infinite tee times. Varsity Golf Coach Jeremy Kovacs reiterated this point: “There are very few courses that would allow us more than four tee times to play a match,” he said. Similar issues arise during practices, as the team can only have so many tee times.

These country clubs must cater to their members, in addition to Nobles’ team, and thus, they cannot offer Nobles infinite tee times.

So, it would be challenging to build a JV Golf team at Nobles without a course to play on. Nevertheless, there have been some on-campus developments that students interested in golfing can utilize. Specifically, a golf simulator in the Morrison Athletic Center (MAC) and a brand-new putting and chipping green are now available on campus. Even if students are not on the Varsity Golf team, they can use these resources.

Students wishing to tryout for Varsity Golf do face high barriers to entry when compared to other sports. “All of our kids who are currently on the roster [also] play tournament golf, and all of them, in some way, have their own coach at home,” Kovacs said. Altogether, these challenges create considerable barriers for students to play golf at Nobles; however, interested students can take advantage of the new golf resources on campus to practice, if they wish.

Still, Gallagher reiterated support for and the importance of Nobles’ JV teams. “Our JV programs are ‘both-and’ not ‘neither-or’ [programs]…[JV teams] are a place to develop kids who have a hope of making varsity, and [they are also] a level to take kids who might not have [an] interest in ever playing varsity in that sport and giving them a great team experience,” he said. JV teams serve several roles on campus for different student demographics, leading to positive experiences for all.

Another issue that arises on JV teams is the number of seniors they can carry, such as on JV Squash and JV Tennis. Due to limited court space, the Varsity and JV Squash teams only carry nine players each, for a total of 18 boys and 18 girls in the program. 

These restrictions can sometimes cause issues, such as during the 2021-2022 winter season when many seniors tried out for JV Squash. “If a senior is not taking a spot from an underclassman, we allow them to play JV sports,” Gallagher said. That year, many seniors could not play squash due to the number of interested underclassmen. Gallagher said, “This year, our tennis model is going to be very similar to our squash model, for the first time.” In past years, the JV Tennis teams have carried as many players who were interested in playing, but that policy will last no longer.

All in all, Nobles’ JV athletic programs are critical in helping develop younger athletes while providing a supportive team environment for students of all levels. That being said, JV Golf won’t come any time soon, given the physical space constraints the team faces.

(Photo Credit: Avery Winder)

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