CASTLEFORD — In 2014, Castleford golfer Sierra Harr played with the boys for the second time.
Unlike the first, in 2012, this season was all business — no distractions.
“I didn’t hear anything from anyone,” Harr said. “It was nice to just be able to go out there and play golf.”
Harr was the center of a national story when she challenged the status quo and joined the boys golf team at Castleford as a sophomore. To her, it was the best way to maximize her opportunity for growth in the game, instead of winning the girls championship by 20-plus shots — she won by six strokes as a freshman.
Her decision wasn’t well-received in all corners. There were challenges, and the Idaho High School Activities Association nearly changed its rules to close the loophole Harr used to play on the boys team, before it reversed course.
There was no such hoopla in her senior season, as she was treated as just another golfer — even when she won the 2A boys District IV championship. She competed well against the boys but felt her game slipped down the stretch.
The season didn’t end up quite how the two-time individual and one-time team state champion, and back-to-back Times-News female golfer of the year, had envisioned. Despite the district title, she was unsatisfied with her level of play at the end of the season. She finished ninth at state, two spots lower than as a sophomore.
Her swing wasn’t where she wanted it to be, and any serious golfer knows what that kind of predicament entails. When the swing goes, you can’t just address one facet of it; it sometimes has to be reconstructed almost from scratch.
“It’s just something that always happens with me. My swing goes (awry) early in the season, and I spend the rest of the season trying to fix it,” she said. “I think (playing with the boys) maybe had something to do with that, because I would try to hit the ball as hard as I could, when I know that I can hit it as far as some of them if I just do my normal swing. But I would swing harder and pull-hook the ball, and that was where I missed all year.”
Still, Harr managed a second top-10 finish in a boys state tournament, to go with her two wins when she competed with the girls. The struggles she endured, she says, will benefit her in the long run as she continues her golf career at BYU next school year.
Too old for many of the Idaho Golf Association Junior events, she plans to challenge herself even more this summer to put herself on the best platform possible for life as a Division I golfer.
“I’m just going to try to go to as many national qualifiers as I can. That’s what’s going to help me next year,” she said. “I got to go to the Big-I last year, and that was really fun. I’d like to do that one again.”