photos by Spark Photography

Hole in One

Thearrival of spring brings Padres games, beach trips, and the most popular sport in which the player with the lowest score wins. We’re talking about golf, of course; more specifically, high school golf. Commonly referred to as one of the most difficult games to master, the sport has a solid foundation built at both
Del Norte High School (DNHS) and Rancho Bernardo High School (RBHS). With the abundance of world-class courses right in our backyard, it’s no wonder our young athletes have such great success on the links. We talked with DNHS Coach Mike Reifeiss and RBHS Coaches Tim Steigerwald and Richard Deem about their respective programs and what makes golf such a popular and rewarding sport in 92127.

Q&A

with Mike Reifeiss,
Del Norte High School Boys and Girls Varsity Golf Coach

CF_MikeWhat is the history behind your career as an athlete and as a coach?
I grew up in Rancho Bernardo and played golf at RBHS, graduated from SDSU, and played some of the mini tours in Southern California.

How long have you been the head coach and what enticed you to want to coach?
I have been coaching at Del Norte for five years, and love working with kids at the high school level.

Can you provide an outlook for the team this year?
The Del Norte girls golf team will return with most of our team from last season, with two regional qualifiers last year, and Annika Chickering and Nastasia Kossacky will lead the way.

What is the number one goal the girls have this year?
Our goal for the girls team is to break into the top two in San Diego and qualify to regionals, win our fifth league title, and to keep improving in all areas of the sport.

What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of coaching is the kids. Developing them as athletes and young men and women is what coaching is all about. I love when they come back from college and visit with the team. Honestly, it’s the best part of my day working with them.

 What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill that upon the players?
My coaching philosophy is that we are all part of the family, everyone plays a role. The team chemistry that has been created over the years is extremely special. The last match and van ride home for the season is an emotional one with the girls, tears are always flowing, and all the girls seem really sad to end the season. The kids are so connected on and off the golf course. I’m really lucky to have such an exceptional group of kids come through the program.

Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers and the community.
The support that we receive from parents, the school and the community is phenomenal. The Rancho Bernardo Inn and staff has been really great to us.

If you could grant the team one wish this year, what would that be?
The one wish I would grant, if I could, would be to win another league title and qualify for regionals. They have worked so hard over the years, it would be such a tremendous accomplishment if they did.

CF_DN_Boys

Do you have any upcoming events, fundraisers or tournaments you would like to share with our readers?
We are hosting our 5th Annual Boys/Girls golf tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in September. Please email mikereifeiss@yahoo.com for additional information.

Tell us about the coaching staff and what they bring to the team.
We added a great new addition to the JV team this year. Mark Johns is in his first season.

What do most girls/boys on the team do during the off-season?
Most of the girls/boys will be playing in golf tournaments and practicing in the off-season.
Is there any local talent who has gone on to play on a collegiate and/or professional level?
We had our first scholarship athlete in Paris Griffith, a four-time captain, two-time regional qualifier, two-time valley league player of the year, and she is playing at UC Riverside.

What awards/accolades/recognition has the team garnered over the years?
The girls golf team has won four straight league titles, with a record of 38 – 2 in league play.

How do you stress the importance of academics to the student athletes?
All of our student athletes understand academics comes first. We have one of the strongest GPAs at the school.

If you could describe the team this year in five words or less, what would that be?
Determined to improve every year.

CF_DN_Girls

 

At-A-Glance

Coach Profile Information

Name: Mike Reifeiss
Community: Rancho Bernardo
Profession: Owner of Aall in Limo Services
Education: SDSU Alumni
Hobbies/Interests: Playing golf, spending time with my family
Email: mikereifeiss@yahoo.com

DBHS Girls Golf At-A-Glance

Name of Team: Del Norte Girls Golf
Varsity: Mike Reifeiss
Number of Girls on Varsity: 8
Last Year’s Record: 15 – 3 (9 – 1) League

2014 Season Schedule:
Available in the fall

 

 

Q&A

with Tim Steigerwald,
Rancho Bernardo High School Girls Head Golf Coach

CF_TimWhat is the history behind your career as an athlete and as a coach?
Growing up in Upstate New York, I played golf as much as I could, which wasn’t much. In high school I didn’t play golf. Instead, I alternated between tennis and baseball. As a coach, I’ve coached the girls team at RB for the past eleven seasons.
I have 176 wins which I believe is the most in San Diego.

How long have you been the head coach and what enticed you to want to coach?
Eleven years. I wanted to coach golf because I love the sport and it gives me another opportunity to help kids. The game of golf, in my opinion, is probably the sport where life lessons can be taught more than any other.

Can you provide an outlook for the team this year?
Our goal this year is to make it to the State Championship. To do that we intend to finish in the top two at CIF and top three at Regional.

What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect is having a positive impact on the kids. The relationships you gain through golf is amazing. To have athletes keep in contact ten years after graduation asking for advice, getting invited to weddings, etc. is very rewarding. Also, I’ve made some great friendships with other coaches. There are always challenges working with teenagers, but ultimately the positives far outweigh any negatives.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill that upon the girls?
I preach integrity above all else. To be the best you can be, you must put in the time to practice and there must be a willingness to learn about the game. Golf is way more than just hitting a ball. I’m also a stickler for punctuality; ask any of my girls! I also preach that the girls need to give back to the game.

Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers and the community.
Over the years, the parental support has been great. The main support I get from the parents is that they trust me with their kids. The biggest support we get is from Bernardo Heights Country Club (BHCC). They have been extremely generous and welcoming to our team. Without their generosity, there is no way we would have enjoyed the success that we have had over the years. The head pro, Monte Hanson, and all of the staff have been wonderful. We owe a great deal of gratitude to BHCC.

Do you have any upcoming events, fundraisers or tournaments you would like to share with our readers?
We have two big fundraisers: our annual golf tournament which was this past February and our Bucks For Birdies program which allows donors to pledge an amount of money for every birdie our team has during the year. Anyone wanting to participate in this fun fundraiser can contact me for our upcoming season this fall.

Tell us about the coaching staff and what they bring to the team.
For the first eight seasons, I worked alone. For the past few years, I have had help on Wednesdays. This has allowed me to spend time with my own children.

Is there any local talent who has gone on to play on a collegiate and/or professional level?
Tiffany Joh played at UCLA and is currently on the LPGA Tour. Songy Yi turned professional and played on the Futures Tour. Jessica Yam played at the University of Denver and UC Davis. Her sister, Jamie, played at University of Nevada-Reno. Madi Mendiola is currently playing at Mt. Holyoke, and Raquel Ek began her first year at University of Hawaii. We anticipate that at least two of our three returning players will wind up playing in college.

What awards/accolades/recognition has the team garnered over the years?
Over the past four years, our team has only lost nine times – eight of which were to the four-time state champions Torrey Pines. In 2003, Jessica Yam finished runner-up at CIF. Also, in 2003, Songy Yi finished second at the SoCal Regional tournament and then fifth place at State! As a team we have been one of two teams to make it to the SoCal Regional four years in a row!

CF_RB_Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At-A-Glance

Coach Profile Information

Full Name: Tim Steigerwald
Community: Rancho Bernardo
Profession: Math Teacher
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies; Master of Science in Education
Hobbies/Interests: Golf, drawing, spending time with my kids, traveling, tutoring
Email: timmykid@aol.com 

RBHS Girls Golf At-A-Glance

Name of Team: Rancho Bernardo Girls Golf
Head Coach: Tim Steigerwald
Assistant: Richard Deem
Number of Girls on Varsity: 7 – 8
Last Year’s Record: 19 – 2

2014 Season Schedule:
Available in the fall

 

 

Q&A

with Richard Deem,
Rancho Bernardo High School Boys Head Golf Coach

CF_RichardWhat is the history behind your career as an athlete and as a coach?
I started helping with the JV team with Ed O’Connor in about 2005-2006, became the assistant varsity coach in 2010, and then head coach in 2011 when Coach Keller moved to Del Norte.

How long have you been the head coach and what enticed you to want to coach?
This is my third year as the head coach. What initially drew me to trying to be a part of the golf team was the love of the game and the fact that the kids are the best. It is nice to see them outside of the classroom.

Can you provide an outlook for the team this year?
We are bringing back our top six players from last year, and we expect to improve.

What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part for me is watching the kids grow into young adults, and watching some phenomenal golfers. The most challenging part is trying to get the kids to balance playing time with academics. When our student athletes are in season they have so many obligations regarding homework, testing and golf matches. It is a difficult juggling act.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill that upon the boys?
On our team, our best players have their own personal swing coaches that they work with. So basically my philosophy is to let them work with their swing coach while I manage the team and try to get our best six golfers on the course for CIF. I think the kids understand that we are here for a reason – to win a League title and compete well in CIF.

Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers and the community.
We get great support from our parents and the community. Our parents understand that we cannot run a golf program without their support. Also, Bernardo Heights Country Club gives us great support by allowing us to use their facility for matches and practice. It is one of the best courses in San Diego and we get to call it home.

Do you have any upcoming events, fundraisers or tournaments you would like to share with our readers?
We will be having our second annual long drive competition fundraiser at the end of the season. If anyone is interested in making a donation, please contact me. We also have an annual fundraising golf tournament at Bernardo Heights Country Club in February. Again, if interested in participating, please contact me.

Tell us about the coaching staff and what they bring to the team.
My assistant coach is Rocky Eddy, he is a very good golfer and is able to see things in the kids’ swing that I can’t. Without his coaching and knowledge, we would not be where we are today. My JV coach is Steve Howe and my assistant JV coach is Mike Ball.

 Is there any local talent who has gone on to play on a collegiate and/or professional level?
We have a couple. Eric Sugimoto was playing for UOP and has now transferred to USC. He was a big part of the team for all four years that he was here. Also, Todd Baek played for SDSU and has since become a professional golfer.

Do you have any current team members who will be playing at the next level?
Franklin Huang will continue to play golf at Stanford and Brandon Mai will continue at UCLA.

What awards/accolades/recognition has the team garnered over the years?
We placed second in CIF Division I for the past two years, and we won the Wildcat Invitational out at Menifee Lakes last year, and we successfully defended our title on April 4. We also had the individual winner there, Tai Negishi, who was also the individual winner for Palomar League at the North County Conference Tournament last year.

CF_RB_Boys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At-A-Glance

Coach Profile Information

Full Name: Richard Deem
Community: Oceanside
Profession: Teacher
Hobbies/Interests: Golf, skiing, the beach, Sudoku
Email: rdeem@powayusd.com

RBHS Boys Golf At-A-Glance

Name of Team: Rancho Bernardo Boys Golf
Varsity Coach: Richard Deem
Varsity Assistant: Rocky Eddy
JV Coach: Steve Howe 
JV Assistant: Mike Ball 
Number of Boys on Varsity: 12
Number of Boys on JV: 10
Last Year’s Record: 2014: 15 – 5

2014 Season Schedule:
May 1 vs. Canyon Crest | 3 p.m. | Lomas Sante Fe
May 6 vs. Westview High School | 3 p.m. | BHCC
May 8 vs. Poway | 3 p.m. | Stoneridge
May 12 NCC Tournament | TBA | Twin Oaks
May 13 NCC Tournament | TBA | Camp Pendleton