SDHSAA looks at cutting field of state golf tourney qualifiers

Dana Hess, For the South Dakota Newspaper Association
PIERRE — Approval of a second reading of changes to the athletic handbook went smoothly at the June 6 meeting of the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors, except for two golf proposals that ended up in the rough. 
At issue were proposals to re-instate region play in State AA golf and change Class A tournament qualifying numbers from 60 percent to 50 percent of players. 
According to SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos, golf coaches he talked to didn’t know about the changes, even though the changes had been approved by activities directors.
The size of the field is hampering play in the girls’ Class A tournament, according to SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand.
By implementing the qualifying change from 60 percent to 50 percent, the last Class A tournament would have had eight fewer golfers. Of the eight that would have been cut, each shot 109 or worse at the region tournament and none finished better than 70th at the state event, according to Krogstrand.
Players with fewer skills need to take more shots, slowing down the pace of play for the entire tournament. It’s not uncommon, Krogstrand said, for a round of golf to take six hours. 
“There are some kids that aren’t ready for state golf,” Swartos said. 
The board approved the second reading of handbook changes, except for the two golf measures. Swartos said the association would turn to golf coaches to help find solutions. 
Other changes that passed on the second reading include the limited use of instant replay in championship football and basketball games. 


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