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Bendall Breaks Boundaries

Sophomore Haley Bendall  gets set to put. Bendall was the only girl on the golf team this past season. Photo by  Corey Lee.
Sophomore Haley Bendall gets set to put. Bendall was the only girl on the golf
team this past season.
Photo by Corey Lee.

Golf, a club and ball sport, has remained popular since the late 19th century. Golf’s orgins date back to 1400’s Scotland, but only recently have we seen a rise in the number of women playing golf. With new female stars of the game like Michelle Wie and 11 year old Lucy Li, the game of golf is becoming both more accessible and more inticing to women.

At PGHS there is only one girl on the golf team. Sophomore Haley Bendall has only been playing for two months, but she showed improvment and earned her spot on the team.

“She earned that. She come out one day, she was softball player, and she took a lesson. She earned it,” golf team coach Earl Burton said.

Bendall cites teammate Junior Wesley Warren as her motivation to join the team.

“Wesley Warren [made me want to join the team]. He motivated me to play golf more, so when I got better I decided to come out.” Bendall said.

Being the only girl on the team would seem like daunting task, but Bendall was not at all discouraged by the proposition, it motivated her.

“It made me push myself to better because I am a girl,” Bendall said. “I push myself a lot harder because I want to be better than the guys and because I don’t have another girl to compare myself to so I compare myself to the guys.”

Bendall has experienced a lot of support from her teammates, friends, and family.

“Wesley and Reeve [Ashcraft] tell me, if I get frustrated in practice, not to worry about it. Just focus on the next shot,” Bendall said. “[My friends and family] are really proud of me. Every sport I’ve played has been with a girl so it shows how good I am that I can compete with the guys that have been playing  lot longer than me.”

Now that she has qualified for her first ever match earlier in the year, Bendall’s goals for the remainder of the season include qualifying for the central district, something coach Burton fully supports.

“I’m really happy with the way she competes. She’s a really good athlete, you could tell she’s played sports before, and she’s not intimated by playing the guys. She fits in well with the team. She’ll continue to improve,” Burton said.

Teammate Junior Austin Britt has seen having Bendall on the team as advantage.

“It has defintely been an advantage because he can play from tees that are a lot closer than the men’s tees. It also gives our team a better balance of personalties,” Britt said.

The VHSL rules for women’s golf are different than those set for the men. The women hit from a different, red-colored tee which is closer to the hole. According to Burton, where Brendall hits the ball is the only thing that sets her apart.

“We don’t set her apart in golf. The only thing that sets her apart is her tee. She qualifies the same way with the same score,” Burton said.

Even though Bendall is the only girl, her and her teammates believe that she can improve and eventually go very far in the sport.

“I believe that Haley has unlimited potential for her golf career. She has a good foundation in her swing and a fierce competitiveness. If she puts in the work, I believe that she could be a very influential part of the PG golf program in the future,” Britt said.

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