SHERIDAN — Sheridan native Kirby Coe-Kirkham set a new school record for the University of Wyoming men’s golf team for a single season scoring average at 71.5. The previous record was 71.58.
It was a record Coe-Kirkham did not set out to break and was surprised to learn he saw the posts about him breaking the record. Coe-Kirkham said his focus on the year was to make the team better and reach the regional tournament.
It was a sneaky good year for Coe-Kirkham said Joe Jensen, UW director of golf. Improvement in composure and confidence allowed Co-Kirkham to have success during his sophomore year and provide a foundation to grow on.
Putting was an area of focus for Coe-Kirkham and will be an area he continues to focus on. Coe-Kirkham said he struggle with pushing and pulling his putts during his freshman season, adding strokes to the round of golf.
“It is definitely the backbone of every single round of golf,” Coe-Kirkham said. “You can hit the ball as good as you want but at the end of the day if you are not rolling putts into the hole you are not going to score well.”
Shots from the tee or fairway continued to be a solid part of his game. Jensen said Coe-Kirkham does a great job of hitting the ball and has a nice looking shot. Continued improvement in putting will allow Co-Kirkham to turn the next corner in his game and reach new heights.
Work during the offseason will be needed to make sure the feel for the short game does not regress. Jensen said for players at the college level they have recorded thousands of reps with their swings. Time away from the game leaves rust that is knocked off after a few swings of the club. It is the feel for the ball while chipping and putting that declines after time away.
Even just a few days away from golf makes a few bumps in the road. A little practice every day prevents a step backward, Coe-Kirkham said. Putting and chipping will be a focus for the summer with the hopes of more birdie chances next season.
Jensen said the offseason provides an opportunity for players to tweak their swings, grips and make adjustments to their game. Players want to remain consistent during the season but will experiment during the offseason, looking for ways to drop a stroke or two in their game.
Coe-Kirkham also uses the offseason to increase his workout regimen.
He likes to get in peak physical shape during the summer and maintain that shape during the season. The physical work during the summer allows him to focus on the finer points of golf and prevent fatigue from setting in during the season.
College golfers record 72 holes of golf in a tournaments. Some tournaments last two days, meaning golfers are playing two rounds — 36 holes — in one day.
“Sometimes you are out there from dusk until dawn; it is 11- or 12-hour days,” Coe-Kirkham said. “To stay mentally focused that long, it takes a lot of discipline but also good conditioning so you do not get tired on the course.”
To build his stamina during the summer, Coe-Kirkham will workout, practice and attend tournaments. This year will be a little different depending on when tournaments will be allowed to start.
“For the most part, I try to keep it close to home and keep the competitive juices flowing,” Coe-Kirkham said.
Coe-Kirkham sticks to many of the regional tournaments while also participating in some national tournaments, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open and the Pacific Coast Amateur, to see where he stacks up against other players. Regionally, he will attend some tournaments in Colorado but mainly plays in Wyoming Golf Association Tournaments.
Coe-Kirkham is one of the many young, talented players for the Cowboys, Jensen said. Jensen can not wait for the team to return in the fall, a feeling Coe-Kirkham shares. Everyone on the Wyoming golf team is ready to improve and be back together next fall.