NEW BRITAIN - Bristol Eastern doesnâ€™t technically have a girls golf team, but it does have plenty of girls who golf.
Out of the 12 roster spots on the Lancersâ€™ boys golf team, five are taken by girls, and those girls are making an impact on the links.
During Thursdayâ€™s match against New Britain, Kelsey Wyrebek and Olivia Beaudoin were Bristol Easternâ€™s No. 3 and 4 golfers for the afternoon.
â€śThe first I played with the boys was a little scary, especially being my size.â€ť Wyrebek said. â€śEveryone is literally twice my size. Sometimes you out-drive them, sometimes they out-drive you by a lot. You just have to take it how it is. A lot of them are really respectful about it, theyâ€™re good people.â€ť
Throughout the years, Lancers head coach Greg Boulanger has had about a dozen girls play for him on the boys team.
â€śI want the girls to be engaged in the sport,â€ť Boulanger said. â€śI want them to try to get better and I donâ€™t want them to feel defeated, that they should not be out here. On more than one occasion my ladies have beat a few of the guys, which is tremendous.â€ť
For Bristol Eastern and its head coach, itâ€™s all about promoting the sport.
Boulanger thinks itâ€™s cool that he can have girls on his team.
â€śThe largest demographic in golf thatâ€™s growing is the female golfer,â€ť Boulanger said. â€śMy girls, they can have fun, they can laugh.â€ť
Beaudoin added, â€śItâ€™s kind of empowering to play with the boys, being the only two girls [playing that day]. We hit the same as them, even though we play from the [womenâ€™s] tees. I feel like we can compete with them and itâ€™s a great feeling.â€ť
Whatâ€™s interesting about Beaudoin is that she just started playing golf two months ago and is still learning how the game works. Sheâ€™s already shooting around 60.
â€śThis season I feel Iâ€™m just learning and improving more,â€ť Beaudoin said. â€śI just want to enjoy the different courses and get a feel for how the game actually works. I definitely want to make my score go down a little bit more.â€ť
Wyrebek, meanwhile, is a senior and would like to hit under 50 a couple more times before the season ends.
â€śIt would be a nice way to go out as a senior,â€ť Wyrebek said.
That also means there will be more opportunities for the Lancersâ€™ other female players to make an impact on the course.
â€śIâ€™ll have four other females coming back,â€ť Boulanger said. â€śI always say I have a good group of kids. This is a win, win, and at the end of the year, if these kids have gotten a little bit better, thatâ€™s all that matters.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org