The Red Wing girls’ golf program is one of the state’s elite. It has won five state championships and been the runners-up four times over the past 15 years.
The Wingers are ranked No. 1 by the Minnesota Golf Association in Class 3A and might have their best squad in school history. They only have two seniors on this year’s roster.
“We’ve never had a team have five kids shoot 75 or better in a season like this year,” Red Wing coach Mark Herzog said. “That just tells me how good they have played so far this season.
“Each of them have so much more to improve on, and because of having so much untapped areas of golf yet explored, it has kept the girls enthusiastic about playing golf.”
Leading the charge is junior Stephanie Herzog, the top ranked individual in Class 3A and No. 2 overall. One of two of coach Herzog’s daughters on the team, she tied for fourth place in the Class 2A state tournament a year ago. Senior Kate Smith of Detroit Lakes has won the Class 2A title four consecutive years.
Stephanie Herzog has had seven rounds of par or better on the season, including three rounds under 70. Her average is under 72. “She has made some nice improvements on her short game,” her father said.
Stephanie has committed to play at Iowa. “She knows she has a lot to improve on to be able to play at that level,” Mark Herzog said.
Solveig Christenson is the team’s top-scoring senior. When she started as a seventh-grader, her average was 110.
“She has steadily improved to an average of an 80 this year,” Herzog said. “She is very consistent.”
Two freshmen — Sophia Yoemans and Leah Herzog — fill out the Wingers’ top four players. Yoemans is ranked third in Class 3A while Herzog, the youngest of five Herzog children, is the sixth-ranked player.
“Both Sophia and Leah will be playing college golf somewhere in their future,” coach Herzog said.
Yoemans, averaging 75, has had four rounds of 72 or better this season. “Sophia is also very talented,” Herzog said. “She has the rare combination of power and touch.”
Leah has improved her average from 85 to 79 over the past year. She has two rounds of 74. “She has a beautiful natural swing and has an incredible upside to her golf game,” Herzog said.
Herzog attributes the program’s success to its offseason down time.
“They have been very intentional about putting the clubs away for a good portion of the year,” Herzog said. “Burnout is quite common for golfers and these girls have incrementally increased their practice for golf.”
Herzog believes each player’s self-motivation will hold the key to her future.
“All of the girls practice hard. They are really good at rationing the amount of time they spend with golf throughout the summer and the whole year,” Herzog said. “They each want to play college golf, but they don’t want to get to college and have the motivation for improving and playing golf sapped by the time they get there.”