Boys, girls golf to receive $50,000 golf training area on campus with no specified completion date

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Rebekah Kim

Construction for the new golf training facility, located in between the tennis courts and the junior varsity baseball field, began on Nov. 29. The site, which costs roughly $50,000, will feature 11 hitting bays. Though school officials could not provide a completion date, golf head coach Scott Enrico said he hopes it’ll be ready to use in the 2022-2023 school year.

Grace Johnson

Freshman Angelina Jeong’s parents have driven her to Fullerton Golfers Paradise after school 4-6 times a week to allow her to practice her swing since junior high school.

“I end school at 1:30 because I don’t have a sixth period, so I go home, have lunch and then I go to practice from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” Jeong said. “And then I come back home and do [schoolwork], but it really just depends on my schedule.”

Unlike other on-campus sports, the first-year golfer and her teammates do not have the privilege of walking across Sunny Hills school grounds to attend practice. Instead, they have to find their own transportation to find golf courses to train at.

This has led the boys and girls golf teams to engage in more individual practices as opposed to team workouts. Besides Golfers Paradise, other popular hitting ranges include the Coyote Hills Golf Course, Westridge Golf Club in La Habra or Brea Creek or La Mirada golf courses.

“I was hoping we would have more [team] practices,” Jeong said. “We had about seven ‘official’ team practices [at Westridge Golf Club in La Habra], but we always got on the range about 45 minutes before a match, so that allowed us to get some team practice in.”

Junior golfer Irene Kang says that after being on the team for the past three years, practices have added up a big bill over time. 

“Golf is one of the only sports that doesn’t have a way to practice at school, and it’s always inconvenient for everyone on the team to have to meet at a golfing range far away,” Kang said. “Going to a range is expensive as we have to buy range balls every time we go or buy a membership at a golf course.”

But such an inconvenience can be teed off as early as the next school year, when boys and girls golf head coach Scott Enrico hopes construction will be completed on a $50,000 golf training on-campus facility that will feature 11 hitting bays roughly 21 feet wide.

“I am really excited about it because I’ve never seen a school with a golf facility,” Jeong said. “It [will] be a new experience to be able to practice on campus with my teammates.”

With the area already fenced off, the training site as of this month has green turf, netting and hitting bays sectioned off with metal dividers.

I am really excited about it because I’ve never seen a school with a golf facility…It [will] be a new experience to be able to practice on campus with my teammates.”

— freshman Angelina Jeong

“We’ve had this idea for the last eight years just as a fantasy,” former principal Allen Whitten said. “Something we’ve always wanted to do was provide them [with the facility] because all the teams can practice on campus except golf.”

Construction began on Nov. 29, and the new training site will be located at the end of the tennis courts at the back of the campus, adjacent to the junior varsity baseball field. 

Boys and girls head golf coach Scott Enrico said he was ecstatic once he heard about the plan last September.

“It’s always been a dream for us to have our own golf facility, so we can practice at school and not have to find rides to a golf course,” Enrico said. “This will also save us money that we’d have to spend on range balls. I’m super hyped about it.”

If ready by the new school year, it could become a treat for the reigning girls CIF-Southern Section Division 3 champions. Enrico said he can already envision multiple golfers working on their swings from the hitting bays and sending golf balls into a netting.

“We will use it as an auxiliary driving range,” he said. “An actual driving range is optimal because you can see your ball flight, but we will use our facility to practice our hitting.”

With this new installation, Enrico says Sunny Hills becomes one of the first schools to harbor a golf facility like this one. 

“We are the first in the district with something like this,” he said. “I do not know of any other schools in the OC [Orange County] that have something like ours.” 

Freshman golfer Oliviah Chavez said this new development will make life less strenuous by eliminating the need for an off-campus commute. 

“Having a facility at school makes practicing so much easier,” Chavez said. “It’s easy to access compared to driving 30 minutes to a golf course.”

It’s always been a dream for us to have our own golf facility, so we can practice at school and not have to find rides to a golf course…This will also save us money that we’d have to spend on range balls. I’m super hyped about it.”

— head coach Scott Enrico

However, Enrico said he still plans to hold practices at these off-campus clubs so the players can continue to have course experience.

“In my opinion, playing a course is better practice than just hitting a thousand balls in an hour,” he said. 

Enrico said he also hopes that this new addition will help the golf program improve for its prospective seasons.

“I’m hoping to fundraise, so in the future, we can purchase portable flight trackers [to] see our ball flight on a cell phone or iPad,” he said. “Our kids will be able to see their ball flight, swing speed and ball speed. It’ll be cool.”

As a CIF champion in her first year on the Lady Lancers squad, Jeong said she’s optimistic that this new facility will help her team bring home future CIF titles. 

“I know we will definitely try our best in doing better this year, especially with the new facility the school is giving us,” she said.