Members of the Lady Warriors and Warriors golf teams played in the PGA Youth Tour’s golf scramble.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro’s linksters hit the links at the New Mexico Tech on July 17 to participate in a PGA Junior Tour gold scramble that gives them valuable experience and keeps them in tune for the upcoming season.

“Practicing often is important in golf because it is not a sport you can just pick up at the start of the season. They have to continuously work all year round, especially on their short game. It’s one of the first things to go. It’s important that we keep them out here and keep them engaged with the game,” Lady Warrior golf coach Kristen Griego said.

Griego’s girls squad is the three-time defending state golf champion in 3A golf. She knows a little about keeping her players sharp, and events like Monday’s two-person scramble keep them engaged.

Arianna Crespin (left) and Natasha Apodaca teamed up as PGA Youth Tour scrambe partners.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

“I think it (scramble format) kind of keeps it fun and more lighthearted. Everyone used to playing their own ball all the time. So now, if they hit a bad shot, they have an opportunity for their teammates to hit a good one. With all the tournaments we play we have, it’s important to keep it light at times,” Griego said.

It’s also a chance for golfers to think through their shots and take advantage of each other’s strengths.

“These girls talked about their strengths. Arianna (Crespin) hits it farther. And Tasha (Apodaca) has a pretty good short game, so they were already strategizing how they can take their strengths and put it into their team,” Griego said. “It’s something that they’ve never done. They’re still solely playing their ball. They’ve never played this format, only in practice. So just go out there and shoot and shoot as best as you can. And we have two opportunities at every shot to hit a good one.”

Griego wants her players to stick to their standard play patterns and not try and outdo each other.

“We still want them to hit the good shots, go through their routines, and even though it is more lighthearted and fun, it’s so important that they’re not picking up bad habits that they’re going through their routine. They’re making sure they’re aimed right and working on things we work on daily.”

“I’m honestly just expecting to have fun and learn from my teammate because I know Natasha is very good with her short game,” Crespin said.

Most coaches will tell you what matters most about golf happens, from 110-150 yards to the green.

“I just focus on my game; it doesn’t matter who’s playing with me. I’m just focused on me and what I need to do to be the best,” Apodaca said.