Anticipation, excitement builds as fall golf season commences

As Rich Szymanski gears up for golf season No. 34 at Pomperaug, it feels a lot different than recent seasons past.

“It is completely different. I told my wife the other day, ‘This is kind of like my first couple years of coaching, there are a lot of unknowns.’ I’m excited,” Szymanski said.

Monday was the first day of the first season of boys golf played during the fall. A total of 51 schools, including three co-ops, have made the switch from the spring season to the fall. The remaining teams will compete like normal next spring.

Those teams making the switch include all of the FCIAC, the South-West Conference, the Berkshire League and half of the Central Connecticut Conference. After two weeks of preseason practice, the regular season begins on Aug. 30.

“I’m very excited about the chance to finally find out for real what it is like to play high school, golf in the fall,” Darien coach Tom O’Donnell said. “Everything has been hypothetical to this point. After 20 years of trying, we get to see what is true and what isn’t true.”

O’Donnell, also in year No. 34 coaching the Blue Wave, said he had 40 kids try out for the team — the most of any season by 15, he said. Darien will likely be a FCIAC contender with 13 of 15 golfers returning from last spring when the program placed third in the league tournament.

“That will put a squeeze on how many kids we are able to take,” O’Donnell said.

The reasons the leagues wanted to move to the fall included: good weather at the start of the season versus poor conditions that forced teams indoors; kids playing through the summer in tournament conditions versus not playing at all because of the winter; and course availability with the girls golf teams staying in the spring.

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