The Commerce High School boys’ and girls’ golf teams will kick off the 2013 season with one goal in mind – to qualify for the state tournament. And with the GHSA restructuring of the playoff system for public schools, chances have never been better.
Last year, public and private schools battled together for a spot in state at the region 8-A tournament. This year, Commerce will have the chance to play in a single-A area tournament, then a sectional tournament before hosting the GHSA single A public state tournament.
The CHS boys will host the state tournament at Double Oaks, while the Lady Tigers will host their state tournament at Highland Walk in Franklin Springs.
Last year, the Commerce boys’ team finished eighth in the region tournament and the girls’ team finished sixth, with neither qualifying for the state tournament.
Tiger head coach Josh Shoemaker hopes that practicing hard and playing a grueling schedule will prepare the Tigers for the playoffs this year.
“Our focus at the beginning is getting in playing shape and seeing where we are as far as players’ ability,” said Shoemaker. “We also schedule matches against good opponents. Everyone in this area who plays golf has a great coach, and we try to schedule each other as much as possible. That is good for us because most of them are AAA or higher.”
The Tigers have a host of returning varsity players that will compete and keep the team score low in 2013.
On the boys’ team, seniors Jake Turpin and Jonathan Book, and juniors Dalton Dean and Tyler Childs will return their talents.
The Lady Tigers will return juniors Emmie Burley, Hannah McRee and freshman Akyn Trudnak.
Shoemaker also noted that he is looking forward to a strong freshman class. Sage Culpepper, Andrew Lathem, Wade McMahan and Wesley Counts will all vie for starting spots.
“They were very competitive last year, and I am looking forward to seeing them play at the varsity level,” added Shoemaker.
The Tigers will open their season at home against Hebron Christian and Oglethorpe County on Feb. 26.
All Tiger home matches will be played at Double Oaks.
Shoemaker expressed gratitude to Double Oaks and other supporters of the CHS golf team.
“We cannot do what we do without the help of Double Oaks Golf Club and their facilities as well as the Highway-98 Driving Range,” he said. “Our parents are great supporters of the program as well as coach Matt Lund (middle school athletic director and golf coach) who is a huge help to the high school program. We are trying to build a championship program here at Commerce.”