DORSET - The start to the golf season is drawing near and members of the Long Trail School golf team are getting ready to hit the links.

Six students make up this year's squad, but only the boys will have a complete team with five members. All of the golfers - which include seniors Lars Lund and Yihe Xu, juniors Louis Bronson and Nellie Burch, and sophomores Andrew Trombetta and Chris Trombetta - are returning to the team this season.

Due to the size of the team, coach Kim Rizio said that the student athletes will get to play in a lot of matches - something that would not necessarily happen if she had a deeper field.

The long winter has kept the team off the greens so far this spring, but they began practicing at the school last week.

"We always get out here on the school grounds with apple baskets and shag balls and pitch and practice before the golf course is open," said Rizio. "We all had to wait for this snow to melt."

Though practice was limited before students went on spring break, Rizio said she has gotten a sense of the team's strengths and weaknesses going into the season.

"Places that they excel typically would be their short game. I think what we need to work on is always consistency and accuracy with their longer shots," said Rizio. "Often a lot of folks might think you can step up and pound the heck out of the ball off the tee, which may or may not get you into trouble. For my particular kids what we need to work on is their long ball and having more conscious thought of where it's going to end up."

Rizio continued to say that she has tried to stress to the athletes that in order to achieve consistency, especially on the green, they need to practice taking the same putt multiple times in a row.

Another thing Rizio - who is being helped by assistant coach Peter Henry - plans to convey to her players is the importance of the pace of play in moving the game along.

"I think pace of play is something that's really important to instill in younger golfers. Just that notion of keeping the movement on the golf course and not taking time out to deliberate something," said Rizio. "Certainly I want them to play carefully and thoughtfully, but there is all that time when you're moving from your shot to your next shot when you can be weighing your options for what club [to use] and where you're going to hit your shot and things like that."

Currently the Lynx have six matches scheduled going into the season with their season opener expected to take place at Proctor-Pittsford Country Club on Tuesday, April 22, beginning at 3:30 p.m. However, Rizio indicated that a couple matches may be added in the near future.

"I think Arlington is fielding a team and I think they will be looking for matches and we have an email from one other school that had not anticipated having a golf team, but now does and their looking for matches," said Rizio. "So, even though it's going to be a very short season because of the later opening for some of the golf courses we usually end up with one or two pick-up matches just as happenstance."

Despite the late start to the season, Rizio said that six to eight matches is about the same number that they would have in a typical season as well. However, the brevity of the season may have an impact on practice time.

"What probably won't be happening because of the tightness of this year will be we won't have as many practices in some sense," said Rizio. "They'll be practicing more on their own."

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