The 2021 high school golf season didn’t start until this month, but Kenyon-Wanamingo senior Tanner Angelstad and his coach Jake Wieme have been scheming about this season for much longer than that.
After Angelstad narrowly missed the 2019 Class AA state tournament, the immediate focus went toward qualifying in 2020.
When last season was cancelled, that energy was shifted toward this spring, and even if there hasn’t been an official golf season in two years, that didn’t mean the work stopped.
“The nice thing about a small school is we talked golf during football season, we talked golf during basketball season,” Wieme said. “It’s Tanner’s No. 1 sport, and it should be because he’s a great golfer. I know he did some things during football season and when I talked to him a couple times during basketball season he was swinging the club in the garage or in the shed.”
So when Angelstad showed up to the first day of practice, there wasn’t an excess of rust that needed to be ironed out.
The competition season started April 20 in a meet at Dodge County Country Club, where Angelstad shot one-over par on the nine-hole course and left a handful of birdies on the table.
“He played very well and didn’t get himself into trouble,” Wieme said. “He said he had about five opportunities for birdies, and what he considers an opportunity for birdie is a lot different than what I do. For me it’s just a tap in, for him it’s a 10-15-foot putt.”
The ultimate goal for Angelstad this season is clear — qualify for the Class A state tournament, now that the Knights have been moved down from Class AA.
Without enough golfers to fill out a varsity lineup this spring, there’s not a need for Angelstad to try and heroically carry a team further into the section tournament, just to hit the shots he needs to for himself.
“I just try to stay out of his way more than anything,” Wieme said. “If he has questions I try to find him the answer, but he definitely knows his stuff about golf, so when we talk we talk more about strategies, what he was thinking on that shot and what were the different options.”
That also allows the other two varsity golfers for the Knights — senior Seth Kyllo and sophomore Soren Kyllo — to hone in on their individual rounds and strive for accomplishing their individual goals.
For Seth, that’s harnessing his power and deploying his long drives when the situation calls for it. For Soren, that’s gaining continuous experience in his first varsity golf experience.
“Golf is a great sport because it can be a challenge against yourself,” Wieme said. “You don’t necessarily need to be playing against someone else to have that challenge, so we talk about improving everything and improving on that personal best or personal record.”