The CIAC golf committee voted unanimously last Thursday to put together a proposal to move high school boys golf to the fall season beginning in 2021.
That is the conclusion the committee came to after sending out a survey to all of the high school coaches, then discussing the data before voting. Hearst Connecticut Media obtained an email sent to the member schools discussing the steps to try and make the move a reality.
“First, the athletes will enter their season fresh from playing all summer as opposed to being in hibernation all winter. Plus the weather is infinitely better from late August through mid-October than it is in the spring from a temperature and rain standpoint,” said Notre Dame-West Haven coach Steve Kirck, not a member of the committee but in favor of the move.
The next step is for the committee to develop a detailed proposal — one that would include dates to hold its postseason tournaments and the possibility of moving girls golf as well. That proposal, after being discussed at the next committee meeting in September, would go before the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) and the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors.
After making adjustments recommended by either organization, then the proposal would go before the CIAC Board of Control for the final vote.
Surveys and discussion about moving to the fall have been conducted in recent years, but have not gotten to this stage. Fairfield Prep coach Bob Bernier said he voted to stay in the spring last time, but changed his vote this time.
“The courses would be in better condition given what I saw this spring,” Bernier said. “We played lift, clean and place into May, which to me is crazy. There were only some courses where we played the ball down. To me, we should move into the fall season where it is warmer and drier.”
Bernier said the one negative is conducting the postseason in colder conditions than the postseason is now.
“My thoughts on fall golf haven’t changed since the last time it came up,” said Xavier coach Mike Kohs, who voted to keep golf in the spring. “To me, it’s much more important to have the better weather of late May or early June for the major events like conference and state tournaments, as opposed to playing those events with the unpredictable weather of late October or November.”
Kirck also pointed out how golf moving wold make it four boys sports in the fall and five in the spring. There are already five girls sports in the fall.
But smaller schools don’t necessarily have that many boys sports. If golf does move to the fall, Portland High would have just two in the spring: baseball and track and field.
Portland golf coach Joe Santavenere said that normally between a third to half of the golfers play either soccer or run cross country in the fall — which would lead to having to make a choice of which sport to continue playing.
“Moving golf to the fall would have a major impact on numbers in many small school programs. Our athletes would have to choose between a sport they’ve always played in the fall (like soccer) and a sport that is historically played in the spring and summer,” Santavenere said. “I would love to see them put together some type of committee to really look at all of the data surrounding this move: weather data, scoring data, student surveys, etc. If the data supports the move, then maybe it is best, but at this point all we have are opinions.”