Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/4/2014 10:41 PM

It's a Dunne deal: Grayslake has girls golf

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Grayslake golfer Ireland Dunne puts on the 10th hole during the high school girls golf match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.

       Grayslake golfer Ireland Dunne puts on the 10th hole during the high school girls golf match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake golfer Kim Balling hits out of a sand trap on the 9th hole during the match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.

       Grayslake golfer Kim Balling hits out of a sand trap on the 9th hole during the match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake golfer Ireland Dunne tees off on the 10th hole during the match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.

       Grayslake golfer Ireland Dunne tees off on the 10th hole during the match between Grayslake and Marengo on Thursday at Brae Loch Golf Course in Grayslake.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

The name rolls off the tongue as lovely as a Titleist on an Open putting green.

Ireland Dunne.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"It's nice," said a smiling Grayslake North golfer Ireland Dunne, who was named after her grandfather, who was born in Ireland and passed away a week before her birth. "My sister's name is Emily. She has like five Emilys in her class. I'm the only Ireland. I never have that problem."

Coming up with a nickname for Grayslake's co-op girls golf team presents a more difficult challenge. As if this game isn't challenging enough.

The Grayslake Central Rams and Grayslake North Knights finally have a squad of female golfers, but the team can't come up with a nickname.

"We're still working on that," assistant coach Tom New said with a laugh.

The suggestions include "Ram Knights," "K'nams" and "R'nights."

Again, they're working on it.

Dunne's favorite is "The Fab Five," when Grayslake enters five golfers in a match. But that doesn't happen often.

"We're trying to think of something else," said Kim Balling, a senior at Grayslake Central who plays in the No. 2 spot behind Dunne. "We like to include JV, too. We don't want to see anyone left out."

Spoken like a great teammate, Kim.

And that's why this golf season will be special -- and already is -- for this Grayslake group, regardless of how its inaugural campaign ends next month.

"When they're all really playing well, to say state is out of reach I guess would be inaccurate," head coach Scott Ewen said. "State is something that could be reached."

Ewen is accurate. Last fall, Grayslake fielded a girls team in the Class AA regional at Bonnie Brook and qualified four golfers to the sectional. Only Shelby White graduated. Dunne, junior Kara Ahlemeyer (Grayslake North) and sophomore Dhani McDowell (Grayslake North) are back. The varsity also includes senior Esther Rhie and junior Jeni Swierczek, both of Grayslake Central.

Dunne and Balling both have experience playing golf with the boys.

"I really like (playing on a girls team)," said Balling, who's played competitive golf since her sophomore year, when her older brother Kyle convinced her to play for the GC boys team. "I didn't like being with the boys. They were too crazy. I couldn't compare myself to them, because they would hit it so much farther than me."

Balling, who's 5 feet 7 and athletic, doesn't give herself enough credit.

"Kim has limited tournament experience, but she can hit it as far as any boy," Ewen said. "She has a tremendous amount of power."

The diminutive Dunne (5-3, 104 pounds) is Grayslake's most-experienced player and boasts the potential to get downstate. She fired her second 39 of the season Thursday, as Grayslake carded a 186 in beating Marengo (255) at Brae Loch Golf Club.

Dunne says she shot a 32 this summer at Lake Bluff Golf Course, where she works. She's played golf since she was 7, but has teed it up in competitive matches only last four years.

"It's definitely a lot different from the boys," Dunne said. "The boys are a lot quieter. The girls are completely different. ... You can get the serious, 'I'm going to kill you' girl, or you can get the girl that's like, 'Oh, heyyyy!' Girls are so different."

Many of the Grayslake girls have swung a golf club. They just haven't done it competitively. They need lots of matches under the golf belts.

"They're not necessarily golf novices," Ewen said. "But they're tournament novices.

"I feel like it was an activity for them last year. It was something to do," Ewen added. "This year, the team aspect is something they comment about all the time."

Just the other day, for example, the senior Rhie was lamenting that the Grayslake co-op team wasn't around her first three years of high school.

"We were a little nervous about the co-op atmosphere," New said. "But they love it."

"It's not like rivals," Dunne said. "We all get along. We're all really good friends. We go golfing over the summer."

After finishing third in their first tournament, at Pinecrest in Huntley, Grayslake's girls posed for a picture that made the rounds on Twitter. They turned an arm to the camera, showing the logo of their respective high school. Grayslake North's logo is on one sleeve, while Grayslake Central's is on the other.

"They're having so much fun," Ewen said.

Both Ewen and New played high school golf -- Ewen in Colorado and New locally at Carmel -- so they're more than qualified to teach the sport. And that includes golf's etiquette, which some of the JV girls are learning about more and more.

"They don't know how to mark a ball. They don't know how to trade score cards," Ewen said. "And then we have girls like Ireland and some of the other varsity girls. We don't need to go over that with them. They want to learn how to hit a punch shot. You can go from, 'Here's how to grip a club,' to, 'Here's how to play a draw.' "

Golf's challenges never end. Lovely.

jaguilar@dailyherald.com

• Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeAguilar64

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here