The Watseka high school golf teams conducted their first week of practice at Shewami this week.

Leading the charge for both the boys and girls teams is Darin Hartman, who is in his 20th year as head coach.

“It’s going to be a fun year. I’m excited about it and the kids have really been working hard,” he said.

“We’re on the range working and put little games in and other things that they can do competition wise. I’ve got a great group. They work hard and they listen, so I am a pretty fortunate person.”

One thing Hartman has found enjoyment in during his 20 year coaching career is how coachable the kids are.

“A lot of kids when they first come onto the team don’t know anything about the game. So, they are eager to learn. Once they start to learn, it seems like the light clicks and they continuously get better and put the work in. Coaching golf has been great because it seems like I have zero problems.”

One thing the kids learn right out of the gate is having a respect for the sport and its course.

“Golf is a game of honor and we harp that at the kids from day one,” said Hartman.

“We are just so fortunate that Shewami lets us play here and it’s important that our program reflects that in the treatment of not just the course, but how they play the game.”

With 16 players on the boys team, Hartman is looking to his upperclassmen to lead by example this season.

“Lucas Ball is going to be the mainstay on the boys side for us. He’s going to be asked to anchor the boys teams. He is so consistent score wise that he does a lot of leading just by showing how it’s done. The same can be said about Dylan Harris and Jordan Schroeder.”

On the girls side, Hartman said Natalie Schroeder is another player that leads by example and takes charge.

“Natalie really separates herself from everybody and is a great golfer. She works really hard on her game and has done a great job to get her name where it needs to be,” Hartman said.

“The great thing about all those kids is they aren’t afraid to help out other kids. If they see other kids struggling they’ll work with them and try to help them out and that’s what we look for.”

The Watseka Warriors golf program’s first meet will be at 4 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Hubbard Trail.