A sisterhood of teen golfers roams the fairway, strokes through the grasses and tip-toes on the green, driving, chipping and putting with beauty and precision on a sunny springtime afternoon.
The sisters, Hannah and Caroline Andrews and Jenna and Karie Francen, golf with Blaine High School’s varsity Bengals.
They do it well. And they do it as family.
Golfing for them seems to be genetic. Golfing is in their blood. Golfing is a family trait.
Two more Bengal girl golfers, Morgan Wolfe and Olivia (Ole) Landborg, are also part of the sisterhood of golfers, but their sisters, Bailey and Cassie, have graduated and gone on to golf on the collegiate links.
The Bengal golfing sisterhood is rooted in the family of sisters Angie and Teresa Rizzo, the first pair of golfing sisters to grace the links for Blaine High School.
Angie, who graduated in 1996, went on to golf in the LPGA after her college career in which she was named Academic All-American at the University of Oregon.
Angie occasionally returns to her high school alma mater to offer tips and reminisce about the sisterhood. You see, her sister Teresa followed her on to the golf course, golfing with the Bengals until she graduated in 2005.
For the sisterhood of Bengal golfers, golfing comes naturally, instinctively and with all-consuming passion.
Not to say it comes without diligent repetition and days of determined practice, but for these girls golfing is a welcome way of everyday life – and they’re good at it.
“We’re having a great year. We’re undefeated in the conference. This is our best start ever,” said Blaine girls’ golf co-head coach Bill Davids.
While Davids admires the girls’ talents on the golf course, he admires their character even more.
“These girls are really good kids. We’ve got the best kids in the world out here,” said Davids, who shares head coach duties with Maribeth Suter.
“They’re not just excellent golfers, they’re excellent students, too. They’re just excellent kids.”
When asked why they love golf, the sisterhood answers, almost in unison, “It’s a family thing.”
“My dad got me out playing when I was just a little kid. I just kind of grew on it,” Jenna said.
For Morgan, whose family lives on the Crossroads Course of Majestic Oaks, proximity was key.
“When you live on the golf course, you just can’t ignore it,” she said. “It’s right out the front door, so it’s something we do all the time.”
Her older sister, Bailey (BHS class of 2009), is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, but during her high school golfing career, Bailey was all-conference her eighth-grade through senior years, went to state each of those years and was named all-state her senior year.
While Morgan’s proximity to Majestic Oaks makes golfing with the Bengal sisterhood convenient, for Karie, a lengthy daily commute is a necessity.
While Karie is a senior at Blaine High School she is also a full-time PSEO student, attending classes at Bethel University and living on the St. Paul campus.
“I commute here from Bethel every day for practice. It’s a long way, but it’s worth it,” Karie said. “It’s worth it because it’s so fun. I love these girls. I love my coaches. I could have played for Bethel, but I chose to play for Blaine because of the girls, the coaches, my sister.”
Sister Jenna is a freshman on the Bengal girls’ golf team and said golfing, for her, is a favorite activity she shares with her sister.
“Being out here is so great. Something we share that we both really love,” Jenna said.
Karie and Jenna’s older sister Danielle also golfed for Blaine and served as captain before graduating in 2010.
Hannah, one of the captains of the Bengal girls’ golf team along with Karie and Morgan, said what she loves about the game is its precision.
“I’m so analytical and that’s what I love: I can analyze everything – every stroke, every lie, every putt, every hazard,” said Hannah, who does a great job of analysis, diagnosing her game and perfecting it.
Hannah, a junior, and her sister, Caroline, a freshman, are the Bengals’ first and second golfers, Davids said. Both girls have played in the junior PGA league, and so has Morgan.
While the sisterhood of golfers tees up and strokes their way through their high school careers, Hannah predicts that her younger sisters will extend that sisterhood. Her three-year old sister already “loves golf and wants to be out here all the time,” Hannah said, adding that her nine-year old sister likes to golf, too.
Hannah could see both of her little sisters golfing for Blaine in the future, she said.
And so, the sisterhood of golf extends past the grassy fairways and manicured greens, and into the great beyond.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]