Unaka brings back golf program after two-year break

By Michelle Prater-Pope
STAR STAFF
mprater@starhq.com
After a long period of time without extending the opportunity to play golf, Unaka High School has reinstated its golf team. After existing for 10 years, the team dissolved, but now Ronnie Snavely has stepped in again as the coach.
"We hadn't had one the last two years," Snavely said. "We're just starting it back. We have a couple seniors, Chad Lewis and Chad Grindstaff, and the rest are underclassmen."
Having coached Lewis as a freshman the last year the team existed, Snavely is familiar with his playing and is enjoying working with the new players.
"Lewis is the only one that's played a lot of golf," Snavely stated. "The rest, we're pretty much introducing the game to them."
"I've been playing golf for two years, but that's just off and on," Lewis said. "I didn't start playing heavy until four months ago."
Snavely coached the team the first time around for 10 years, so the obvious choice of coach was Snavely.
"They called and asked me if I'd do it again, and I said sure," he said. "Some of the parents wanted it back."
"He's a good golf coach," Lewis said of Snavely. "He really knows his stuff. He's really helped me this year on my golf attitude and overall playing the game."
The team of seven players have been playing since school started three weeks ago. "They've done pretty well, considering the lack of experience," Snavely praised. "I think the biggest thing is, I want to introduce them to the game and get them to where they enjoy playing it."
Lewis described his beginning of golf, saying; "I really just beat it around the golf course. This year I stepped up my swing quite a bit, shooting high 30s and low 40s. I try to keep the team within second and third place in every match that we shoot. I'm just trying to help the team and not necessarily myself."
Snavely's primary goal is to share his love of golf with the players and urge them to pursue their interest in it.
"Golf is a lifetime sport," Snavely said. "Most people play team sports when they're in school and then when they get out, they don't have anything that they can continue playing."
"I'm introducing them to golf, and hopefully they'll continue playing it the rest of their lives. That's the objective. If they like it and have a good experience with it, hopefully they'll continue playing it."
Besides seniors Chad Lewis and Chad Grindstaff, the team includes juniors Derek Cline, Tyler McCann, Daniel McInturff, Rusty Holtsclaw, and sophomore Aaron Greer.