Golf team in full swing

Nganga+%2811%29+chips+the+ball+during+a+match+at+Fox+Meadows+Golf+Course.+He+tied+for+4th+place+at+the+Memphis+Publinks+tournament.
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Golf team in full swing

Nganga (11) chips the ball during a match at Fox Meadows Golf Course. He tied for 4th place at the Memphis Publinks tournament.

Nganga (11) chips the ball during a match at Fox Meadows Golf Course. He tied for 4th place at the Memphis Publinks tournament.

Jeremy Bateman/ Used with permission

Nganga (11) chips the ball during a match at Fox Meadows Golf Course. He tied for 4th place at the Memphis Publinks tournament.

Jeremy Bateman/ Used with permission

Jeremy Bateman/ Used with permission

Nganga (11) chips the ball during a match at Fox Meadows Golf Course. He tied for 4th place at the Memphis Publinks tournament.

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Although they walk onto the green to compete individually, Ben Nganga (11) and Madeleine Mejia (10) share a common bond: they represent the golf team. Nganga was introduced to the sport when he was 10. After trying football, cross country and track, he decided to pursue golf.

“It gave [me] a lot of independence because I actually have to work by myself,” Nganga said. “I didn’t have a team that I could depend on.”

Not all players have a completely independent experience, however. Madeleine Mejia’s brother, Teddy Mejia (12), also plays for the Spartan golf team.

“We’re really competitive,” Mejia said. “I’ve never beaten him. I try to, but it never works.”

During the heat of the season, the team has three to four matches per week, which leaves players to practice and improve on their own.

“It’s just silly mistakes that I do that I can really just fix and clean up,” Nganga said. “I already know what I really need to shoot.”

WThe season has its ups and downs, and at times, it can be challenging for the players. 

“There’s been a couple of times where we’ve almost had to cancel the matches because of the heat,” coach Jeremy Bateman said. “The players-the golfers get tired and frustrated. It’s hard to play when you’re hot and miserable.”

Even if the season has not gone well so far for some players, there is still time left in the season to improve. Many of the golfers’ season goals  were to make it to the state championship.

“I’ve started to be on track,” Nganga said. “The first part of the season, before now, I haven’t been playing well, but I see how I can come back.”

By competing side by side throughout the course of the season, Spartan golfers share a sense of unity, even though the sport is individual. They all share a similar goal: to make it to the state championship. 

“The interaction with the guys and the girls-I really enjoy seeing them succeed and win and the comradery that it creates,” said Bateman.

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