Golf: Washington Private Schools Championship to include girls for first time

May 14, 2012

The Washington Private Schools Championship, affectionately known as the Metros, has been played since 1934, usually bringing together the region’s top private school golfers for an unofficial, loosely organized championship.

This year, though, promises to be different: For the first time, girls will participate in what previously had been an all-boys event.

Coaches and administrators from the four participating schools were in communication Monday to decide whether the girls should play from the same tees as the boys. The answer: Olivia and Julia Bowling of St. Mary’s Ryken will get to play from one set of tees closer to the hole than their male counterparts.

“As long as the two sides can agree, the girls definitely should be playing from a different tee box,” said Gonzaga Athletic Director Joe Reyda, who took on the task of checking with the three other participants to gauge their positions on the subject. “It was just a matter of all four schools agreeing where it should be done from.”

Competing in the match are two teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (all-boys Gonzaga and co-ed Ryken) and two from the Interstate Athletic Conference (all-boys Landon and co-ed Bullis).

The WCAC, whose 10 members include two all-boys schools, allows its female golfers to play from the set of tees closest to 15 percent shorter than the tees the boys use.

The six-team IAC, however, is an all-boys league. (Its three co-ed member schools have their girls teams play in the Independent School League.) And the IAC forces its female golfers to play from the same set of tees as the boys. The Baltimore-based Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association has the same policy.

“This isn’t an IAC-ISL type thing,” said IAC Commissioner Dan Paro, who is the athletic director at boys-only Georgetown Prep. “This is IAC golf. It is a men’s league.”

Paro said the issue had been discussed by school administrators who came to the conclusion that since no rules were altered when girls participated on other boys’ teams such as ice hockey or wrestling, no changes would be made in golf.

“The girls are never going to hit it as far as the boys do off the tee,” said Lenore Martinez, the golf coach at all-girls WCAC member Holy Cross. “It’s not the tee shot you care about. You want to make sure they have the same club on the second shot.”

With the boys set to play from the 6,284-yard white tees at Cattail Creek Country Club in Glenwood on Monday, it was agreed that the Bowling sisters will play from the 5,787-yard gold tees, which are nearly eight percent shorter.

The prevailing thought seems to be that the host league, which alternates each year, might dictate policy — sort of an American vs. National league compromise on the use of a designated hitter in the World Series.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Reyda said. “That’s something that may have to be brought up. Do we have to play by IAC rules next year?”

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