Upperman golf coach Joey Jones believes he has a really good team this year. Jones, a life-long team sport coach, brings over a team first mentality to this traditionally individual centric sport.
“We are better together than we ever will be on your own,” Jones said. “When practice was over, they would just grab their stuff and walk off. That didn’t set well with me… We all get our hands in there and say ‘Lets go bees!’ That was new to them but It was something that was very familiar to me… that helped bring them into the concept of this is about all of us.”
Jones also instituted a nine-hole qualifying round, at Southern Hills Golf and Country Club, amongst his nine boys, in which the top five qualify, and his three girls, where two qualify.
“When I first took over, we had five boys and two girls,” Jones said. “That’s what you have to have to compete as a team. I felt like we need a little competition amongst our teams. If they five boys know they are going every time they have no real reason to work and get better.”
Upperman golf sent both boys and girls golf teams to the state tournament last year at Willowbrook, in Manchester, Tennessee.
“I don’t think Upperman has ever had both the boys and the girls team get to go to state,” Jones said. “That was a feat for us to get everybody there and not just the individual. The fact we were able to get seven golfers there and not just an individual was really for us.”
Jackson County golf coach Garry Flynn anticipates that Upperman will not only be one of the best teams in the district and the region, but the state.
Both Upperman boys and girl’s teams will be put to the test this coming Monday at the Early Bird Golf Tournament hosted by the Cookeville High School golf team at the Golden Eagle Country Club. The Cavaliers and Bees will be put to the test against 12 other schools.