Playing on both University of Washington’s and Bellevue College golf teams, Kirk Johanson isn’t new to the sport of golf. “I’ve coached the Men’s and Women’s golf team at BC since 2006 when we restarted the program,” Johanson said.
“My coach is super passionate about the game, and he is passionate about teaching the players how to get better,” sophomore golf team member Zach Buchanan said.
When reflecting on old memories about golf, Coach Johanson said, “I have been lucky enough to have played at some very nice and prestigious courses. St. Andrews in Scotland is at the top of the list. I played there with my dad and two brothers. It was an amazing experience, especially being able to do it with my dad.” Johanson also reflected on his hole in one experience, “[hole] #11 at West Seattle Golf Club. I didn’t see it go in but the other players in my group did. My heart was racing as I walked up to the hole and didn’t believe it until I saw the ball in the hole,” said Johanson.
Johanson took me through the guidelines of recruitment he and his staff use to find players to join their team; education and maintaining a high G.P.A. seem to come before anything. “In recruits we are looking for quality student athletes. First off, all the players are here for an education, and attention to their classes and grades are a must to be able to play.” The next step is looking for experience, how many games they have played, whether they played in high school. “We recruit players that have tournament experience. Most of our players played and excelled in high school and junior golf. We do have walk ons that have made the squad.” Johanson is more then just a coach; he is willing to give up the extra time he has to make sure his athletes are students first. “He has offered me help on school work before. He is always making sure that the players are doing well in school,” said Buchanan.
Comparing the boys’ season to the girls’ season, Buchanan said that the guy’s team made some mistakes during the tournaments. “It wasn’t just one person; it was all of them. But for the girls’ side, with seven straight tournament wins in a row, their season went really well.”
With the ability to recruit topnotch players to the program success hopefully will continue for both the girls and the guy’s teams. We are very excited about the future of BC golf,” said Johanson. “With the success we’ve had, Men’s NWAACC Champion two years ago, and the Women’s team winning their first NWAACC season championship this season, the women have won seven straight tournaments.”
The women winning their first NWAACC championship is a big deal and shouldn’t go unrecognized. The sixth straight tournament win of the season sealed the first NWACC championship. The final league match was hosted by Bellevue at Redmond Ridge and Glendale CC the last weekend in April. Sophomore Katya Case won the tournament by ten shots with a two-day total of 155. Freshman Kayce Ogishima finished with a score of 176 which placed her in the top ten, followed by a two way tie for seventh between the Bulldogs Corey Rois and Jamie Kirsila both with 177.
With a young team of mainly freshmen, and the positive recruitment they were able to pull off this year, the Bulldogs are hoping for more success and NWAACC championships in the future.