The Teton High golf team, which was brought back into existence in 2017 after a decades-long hiatus, is growing quickly and showing real potential as a district contender.
This year for the first time, with 10 girls and 12 boys, the team can field both JV and varsity squads for girls and boys. “We’ve never even had a full varsity girls team before,” said Coach Megan Bybee.
The team is composed of a mix of experienced golfers and kids who are new to the sport. “We live in a valley with five golf courses, so obviously golf is big here, even though we don’t talk about it as much as skiing,” Bybee added.
The 2020 team was large too, but the season was cut short after only two practices. Even more so than other spring athletes, local golfers are limited by weather; this year Teton attended its first tournament over spring break without having played a single time on grass.
“It’s hard to learn how to golf indoors,” Bybee said. “You need a whole hole to experience everything you need to know, not just your swing but also etiquette and scoring, that kind of thing.”
Fortunately this year two courses have opened early to accommodate the team; the Links at Teton Peaks is their main venue and Teton Reserve has a driving range that has proven to be a solid practice facility.
The team’s first tournament was in Rexburg during a brutally heavy wind storm in early April. “I’m so proud of them for finishing,” Bybee said. “That is not fun—no one would choose to golf in that weather. But we’d never be outside if we called it quits due to weather. You have to be a trooper to be an east Idaho golfer.”
In that event Teton’s boys and girls both took second, and senior Luke Thompson placed second overall. In an abbreviated dual with Sugar-Salem on April 22, the Teton girls won and freshman Abbie Tibbitts took second overall. The boys won at an 18-hole dual with Ririe on April 28, and Thompson and freshman Joe Brosz tied for first overall, with senior Oliver Dahlgren-Hundere placing third.
On May 3 in St Anthony, Teton squared off against its district opponents as well as North Fremont and came out on top: the boys tied for first with Sugar and the girls won outright. Brosz and Thompson again tied for first overall and Tibbitts was the winner among varsity girls.
The district tournament will be held at the Links on May 12. There will also be a district preview event at the Links on May 5, where each team is allowed to bring seven members to gauge which five will compete in the real deal.
Bybee said that the Links can be a challenging course, with more hazards than a typical high school venue. “If you can’t carry, you’ll be eaten alive at the Links. We have a definite home turf advantage.”
The state tournament will be held in Rathdrum on May 17-18, and only one team from the Mountain Rivers Conference will qualify; other players can qualify individually.
“Our fifth spot on varsity could go to five different kids on any given day, which means they’re all working hard and pushing each other,” Bybee said. “They’re really promising golfers and they seem like they’re enjoying themselves, which is all we can ask.”