When professional athletes retire, they rarely say it is playing on the field they are going to miss. Instead, they say they will miss the feeling of being in a locker room and the relationship they shared with their teammates.
For the Sealy High School boys’ golf team, that is the feeling they have reached under new coach Cody Carruthers. The team is nearing the end of their first season under Carruthers, who came to Sealy with first-year Athletic Director Shane Mobley.
Last year, then sophomore Aidan Roberts was the lone competitor for the boys’ team at the regional tournament finishing in 47th out of 96 golfers. He said he was excited to compete in the tournament but his lack of teammates was something that he wanted to fix coming into this season.
This season, the team has been a commonplace among the top three finishers in nearly every tournament they’ve played and other members of the team like Beau Welch, who had his best score during the tournament at Caldwell in which the team placed first, Blake Weber, Murphy Yeates and Hunter Thielemann have contributed to that.
Roberts said there are many things that Carruthers has changed about the culture of the team that has led to their success this season but there was one thing, in particular, he emphasized that has helped the most.
“We never had a sync and never grooved before Carruthers came in and when he came in, he got us involved with each other and we started really growing together and that helped our scores and helped us push forward,” Roberts said. “We go out to team dinners and really break down the courses and all that time together, we’re really starting to feel like a family.”
The team made up of two seniors and juniors and a sophomore, have spent time together before but Roberts said the environment that Carruthers has created in his first season with them has helped them connect with each other for the first time in years.
“It’s amazing because my freshman year we went to regionals and we had that feeling and last year without the seniors, we just lost that,” he said. “I would say the competition between us and just betting with each other and stuff like that takes the pressure off and it creates a feeling that we’re comfortable and it really helps us focus and keep our scores low.”
Roberts said he realized the team’s potential after their first tournament of the season when the team lost a golfer to another commitment with the school and despite losing his score, they
still placed third. He said it was that promising start that convinced him that this season would be special.
Roberts also said Carruthers’ help has gone beyond just helping from an emotional standpoint but a technical one as well.
“He connects with us so well because golf is such a mental game and he really fixes that up and we spend a lot of time examining the courses and breaking down the best way to approach each hole and take notes and everything,” Roberts said. “He’s set a precedent for what it takes to succeed on and off the course and I’m honored that I can pass that off to the younger players next year when I’m a senior.”
Carruthers said helping the team in both an emotional and technical way is one of the reasons he has pursued coaching as a career.
“That’s why I coach because I want to help them and I know I can and we’ve been together a lot since August when I first started and I want to help them in any way I can,” Carruthers said. “It’s simple stuff like having each other’s cell phone numbers and going out to dinner together and simple things like just eating snacks together at the tournament.”
Since he started, two members of the team have suffered from personal tragedies within their personal family lives and Carruthers said it is those times that the connections among the team go beyond the game.
“Having those relationships with them is priceless and with events like those, having to be there for them is really important because I’m with them no matter what but to me, it’s absolutely critical to have those relationships,” he said. “It helps our results on the course obviously but I want them to succeed in life as well and that’s where this type of team environment really helps.”
Carruthers said that even though the team has fun and has connected, they are still able to flip the switch when it comes time to compete. They do this through team practices at courses around the Houston area and even at times going to Top Golf in Katy.
“People think Top Golf and instantly they think it’s just a fun time going out with friends but if you’ve ever seen us there, you realize real quick that this is a very serious and focused team we have here and they’re showing it,” Carruthers said.
The team competed in the first round of the district tournament on Monday with Roberts shooting an 81, good enough for second place. The rest of the team is hoping to perform well in the second round to qualify for regionals. The second round will be played after press time so check for results on The Sealy News Facebook page or sealynews.com.