Golfers link dedication with skill to master sport


Taylor Tran '25

Alden Thai ’25 tees off during the game at Lake Merced’s Harding Park.

Taylor Tran ‘25, Staff Reporter

The complete silence on the bright yet windy TPC Harding Park course is a harsh juxtaposition to what goes on in the minds of the Riordan boys golf team when teeing off. Their eyes are on the ball, hands steady and firm, holding their club with determination.

Firstly, I’m checking the conditions, like how strong the wind is blowing, how hard the fairways are, and how fast the greens are. Then, I’m thinking about the best way to play each hole – like how far away the flag is, where the bunkers are, and what kind of shot I should hit,” Jaden Chin ’25 said, listing necessary observations he needs to make when playing.

Tyler Minioza’24 focuses on the ball before putting it down the green. (Taylor Tran ’25)

The team is constantly hard at work, practicing four days a week after school from Monday to Thursday and playing other schools weekly. They’ve won 5 matches so far this year, and recently won their match against Sequoia for the second time this season, 219-234.

Boys golf has grown in the past year, their abilities improving immensely from the previous 21-22 season. 

Ever since golf had quickly started up again at Riordan, being the first sport back on campus after COVID, the eight boys on varsity just as quickly bonded with each other, with mentorship within the group becoming a big part of their improvement process.

“I feel like this year we made it our job to make sure we are close as a team because if we are not we can’t work together,” Banuelos added.

Many of the underclassmen feel improvement working with their older team members and their coach, including Alden Thai ’25, saying, “Seniors have helped me in almost all parts of the game. I feel really lucky to be a part of this team.

Even if the younger players mentors are soon-to-be graduates, Coach Jeff Isola ’98 said, “Will and Hector’s graduation will be a big loss for the team next year, but we also have an excellent group of young golfers returning next year[…]”

Our team is doing amazing compared to last year, we are working better as a team to help one another improve day by day.

— Hector Banuelos '23

Regardless of grade, the players are equally matched. According to Isola, a difference of one and a half strokes sets apart their number one player and their number six player. He added, “This year’s team is probably the most consistent team I’ve ever coached.”

The group is on the course to becoming even better and developing their skills to the best of their abilities for years to come and for the rest of this year, their season not being over yet. 

Chin reiterated, “We try to focus on playing our best and letting the results take care of themselves. That being said, we’re always striving to improve and compete the best we can.”