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Lim Has Giant Golfers Thinking, Playing a Good Game

Second-year coach believes there's more to prep golf than hitting balls, and the approach has Redwood near the top of the Marin County Athletic League standings.

Here’s an indication how hard it poured Thursday:

’s golf practice was rained out.

I know what you’re thinking: Of course it was washed out. The rain was coming down in buckets Thursday.

Ah, but here’s the twist: Redwood’s golf team practices indoors.

“When I became the coach last year, there was a new sheriff in town,” Redwood coach George Lim noted. “Workouts were different. Practice was different. There were consequences for all your actions.”

One thing Lim has done in his two years with the Giants is to take the clubs out of the players’ hands. OK, not all the time. Just a couple of times a week.

One such day was supposed to be Thursday, but Redwood closed down early for fear its main parking lot would flood at high tide. Even indoor events — such as the golf team's conditioning session — had to be cancelled.

“Golf isn’t just going out and hitting golf balls,” Lim explained. “You have to have core strength, flex strength. Conditioning is not on the course. It’s a time for me to talk to them.”

Lim has scheduled team dinners and has had a sports psychologist talk to his team. It seems to be working. The Giants are 6-1 in the Marin County Athletic League this season, 7-1 overall.

“The toughest part of golf is between the ears,” Lim claimed. “Most of them have swing coaches. That’s not my job. My job is to put them in a position to succeed.

“It’s not just about winning at golf. We’re teaching life lessons, too. They’re learning how to compete. They’re learning how to play as a team. Golf is an individual sport, but in high school, there’s a team atmosphere. We need five of six scores each match. It’s important that everyone shoots well, but also that they help each other.”

Lim has two senior co-captains who have bought into the program — Spencer Ireland and Billy Corbett. Four of the other six players on the varsity team are freshmen — Chris Laub, Matt Cutcliffe, Alex Gotz and Jonathon Shaw.

“The seniors have really embraced the freshmen,” Lim observed. “It has really helped the team.”

One of the freshmen, Laub, shot a 39 at Stone Tree in a win over Sonoma Valley this week. Ben Salem, a junior whose twin brother Michael is also on the team, fired a 37 in Redwood’s biggest win — over Branson at the Meadow Club — one day after the sports psychologist had addressed the team.

“It takes six guys in a match, but it takes eight guys on a team,” Lim said. “Guys are pushing everybody else.

“They really play like a team. They’re rooting for their teammates, which is really good to see. That what team sports is about.”

The Redwood program appears to be on the rise. One year after finishing near the bottom in the prestigious Wildcat Tournament at the Meadow Club, the Giants took eighth out of 20 teams this year.

“The whole philosophy is working,” Lim observed. “What we’re telling the players is: ‘You have the physical tools. We’ll give you some of the mental tools to work with.’ ”

That's something you can practice rain or shine.

REDWOOD GOLF UPDATE

2011 results: Beat San Marin twice, Terra Linda, Drake twice, Branson, Sonoma Valley; lost to Marin Catholic.

Highlights: Ben Salem shot a 37 at the Meadow Club in a key win over Branson. Spencer Ireland had a 39 and Chris Laub a 40 as the Giants shot an even 200 as a team … Billy Corbett carded a 77 to lead Redwood to eighth place at the Wildcat Tournament at the Meadow Club.

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