Yoakum golf reunites to remember past glories

July 23, 2011 at 2:23 a.m.
Updated July 24, 2011 at 2:24 a.m.

It is only fitting a community named after an enthusiast of the sport has a girls golf program with a championship reputation.

Saturday, the Yoakum girls golf program held a reunion at Yoakum Municipal Golf Course to celebrate three decades of dominance.

More than two dozen players, ranging from members of the 1984 state championship team to girls who will be on the varsity team this year, took the course to reminisce Yoakum High's unprecedented run of success.

Two decades ago, longtime local physician David Watson researched the history of golf in the community.

He found that Benjamin Franklin Yoakum, for whom the city was named, was a railroad developer that was so invested in golf he was a charter member of the National Golf Clubs in America in Southampton, N.Y., in 1908 along with Robert Todd Lincoln-- the last living son of America's 16th president.

While the community ties to golf may stretch a century, the dominance of its varsity golf program dates to 1982.

Since that time every Bulldog team has qualified for the state tournament-a tradition that has also included eight state championships.

When the streak reached 25 years Yoakum Golf Association President Paul Ebner, wanted to recognize the girls who have grown into women, mothers, professionals and role models for future golfers in the community.

Christa Moore Zimmerman recalled that team sports like softball and soccer were not available when she was growing up, so she gravitated toward golf.

After losing in a playoff in 1982 and finishing second a year later, she said her team being determined to bring home the 1984 title.

"Because I was a senior and my sister was a freshman, we wanted to do it that year because it was then or never," Zimmerman said.

But above all, the team wanted to win for their beloved head coach Grant Goodrich.

Zimmerman's sister Stephanie Moore Crain said Goodrich, who now lives in Maryland, was the foundation of the program.

"You were the rock, the heart and soul of the Yoakum golf program," Crain wrote to Goodrich in a recent e-mail. "I can't speak for other golfers other than my sisters and myself. You were an amazing role model and an inspiration to each of us. We are very grateful for all you taught us on and off the golf course."

Shari Munson and Amy Arlitt shared a good laugh when the former recalled how Arlitt beat her in a playoff to determine one of the final spots on the 1991 team, which went on to win the second of four straight state championships. Munson, however was a member of the 1992 and 1993 teams that won those two titles by a combined 63 strokes.

"I live up in hill country so it's exciting too play," said Arlitt, who now lives in Blanco. "I have four kids and a career now and I am a coaches wife. I just valued today. It was great to see my friends."

A teammate of Arlitt and Munson is current Bulldogs golf coach Nicco Brown.

Erin Jirkovsky will be a senior for Brown this year. She said the tradition of the program is additional inspiration for her.

"It was fun because they have a lot to do with what we have to do now," said Jirkovsky, whose goal is to break 80 at the state tournament this year. "Coach Brown helped them and I know she will continue to help us."



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