Waite High School tees up new golf team

Back in 2010 budget cuts led to a sort of paring down for Toledo Public Schools. That meant cutting some sports, including golf. But some students are back to swinging the clubs this year.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:47 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - It’s a sport that Toledo Public Schools students haven’t played in a decade. However, golf is returning to Waite High School and district officials are starting from scratch.

As a teacher at Waite, Luke Murphy is rooted in the East Toledo community. The math teacher said he is proud to coach the school’s revived golf team.

“No kid I’ve talked to, rather than one, has had any type of golf experience,” said Murphy.

After a 12-year hiatus, some TPS schools are returning to the course, or, in the case of Waite’s team, an empty field.

“They’ll line up, they’ll hit 15-20 balls, we go out and pick them up,” Murphy explains. “The reason we practice here is so that it doesn’t cost them.”

He knows it’s far from a golf course, and he knows that if the team practiced on a course right now, their pace of play would slow other groups down.

“I told the kids, once we can get between the 50 and 100 every time you step up to swing, we’ll get you to a course,” said Murphy.

But practicing at the old East Toledo Jr. High property on the east side is teaching players everything they’ll experience in a real match.

“You have to walk the course, you can’t use a cart, so it gets some walking in for the kids,” said Murphy.

The walk to pick up golf balls also gives the kids’ hands a break from gripping clubs, since they’re not used to it yet. It also teaches what Murphy says is most important.

“Like what happened Friday, a couple of the kids started talking to each other,” Murphy adds.

So far, Murphy has 13 students signed up for the golf team, including a few girls. Only one of the players has ever played golf, so Murphy says it’s a challenge on every level. So, for now, he has the kids practicing with some irons.

“It’s something for the kids to use right now just to get the idea of the swing,” Murphy explains. “I have five, five-gallon jugs of old balls, I have 20-30 old sets of clubs.”

But it wasn’t enough. He took to Facebook last week looking for donated golf clubs and got an overwhelming response. He says 15-30 people promised golf club donations for the team, something he says is indicative of the closeness of the East Toledo community. But his job is far from over.

“I’m going to have to do some fundraisers to help get some money into the account to pay for the kids to go to the course,” said Murphy.

In the meantime, Murphy will be cutting a fairway in the field, and teaching the lifelong hobby that is golf.

If you’d like to help the team with any kind of donations, you can call Waite High School.

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