Tahlequah’s golf team doesn’t worry about paring this hole or needing a birdie on that hole. The Tigers have a system in place to take care of all of that.
“All season, the guys have been working on what I call the ‘process,’” Tahlequah coach Nick Baker said. “It’s non-results based thinking, basically on how to manage your game on the golf course.”
Allow Baker to explain his five-step system in depth
“The first step is you decide on a target,” Baker said. “Then you choose your club. Third step is visualize your shot, fourth step is commit to your decision and fifth step is execute your shot.
“Once you execute your shot, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to go find your ball and do it again.”
Following those simples directions has led to quite a successful season for Tahlequah. Now the Tigers will see how well the ‘process’ works at the Class 5A state tournament at Chickasaw Pointe Golf Resort in Kingston on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’ve never played there before,” Baker said of the golf course, which is on the shores of Lake Texoma roughly 15 miles west of Durant. “...I’ve heard the course is fairly long and tight. But I’ve heard it’s a really nice golf course.”
The Tigers enter the final tournament of the year fresh off of a third-place finish at a 5A regional tournament at McAlester County Club. Tahlequah posted a two-round total of 617, while Shawnee (592) and Bishop Kelley (594) was second.
“You go in with the expectation of ‘I’m going to stick with what got us here,’” Baker said of his team’s approach. “We’ll just go through those steps — the ‘process’ — and our guys putt and chip well enough that if it all came together, we could finish pretty high.”
The Tahlequah golfers will begin teeing off at 8:30, and the Tiger golfers will play with Ardmore and Lawton MacArthur.
Tahlequah’s Jake Johnson will be looking to back up his recent individual regional title with a state crown in only his sophomore year. Johnson, though, says there’s no pressure in trying to pursue top medalist honors.
“I just want to go out there and play my best,” he said, “and help my team.”
Johnson, who beat Durant’s Seth Wheeler by a stroke at last week’s regional tournament, is also a role model for his teammates.
“You just have to take in what he thinks and how he approaches the game,” Brent Spradlin said. “He doesn’t make dumb shots, and he’s not too worried if he does have a bad shot.”