Almost from the time she could walk, Harry Huntley has been taking his daughter Kathryn to the golf course with him.
So, when his A.C. Flora girls golf team needed to build depth, Huntley took an interesting approach to recruiting. He started approaching other dads.
“I started telling the dads to get their daughters out on the golf course and play with them,” Huntley said.
He and Kathryn attest to the awesome experience of father-daughter golf.
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“It’s been so much fun and I’m really privileged to have my dad as my coach,” said Kathryn Huntley, his only daughter and the third of four Huntley children her father has coached at A.C. Flora. “I guess golf seems like something that dads do with their sons, but my dad is setting an example for other dads. It’s a bonding experience with daughters, too.”
The coach said several of his newer golfers started the game by learning alongside their fathers.
One such player is Blair Dargan, who is challenging for the fifth spot on the squad. The sophomore is the daughter of former Gamecock golfer Robert Dargan, who also helps out with the team.
“It’s been really nice to have him involved,” coach Huntley said.
Kathryn Huntley said having the dads leading the team has been a great experience.
“It’s really good to have a dad coaching because he just understands the girls so much more,” she said.
Coach Huntley said he hoped to focus on having fun and improving, as the Falcons continue through their rebuilding period. Now three seasons removed from their most recent Class 3A title, the Huntleys believe more success is not far down the road.
“It’s a lot of really strong girls with really strong work ethic, so I’m really excited to see how the program grows in the future,” said Kathyrn Huntley, the team’s only senior. “They are looking at a couple more state championships in a few years. The foundation my dad and those girls have set for the team will really show in time.”
As this season draws to a close, the Falcons aim to survive the Upper State tournament and have the opportunity to play in the state finals, although they are not expecting to be title contenders.
Meanwhile, coach Huntley is reveling in his final weeks with his daughter as one of his athletes.
“The sad part is, I’m losing my favorite golf player. I enjoy playing golf with her more than anybody,” he said. “She has the best attitude, and she just keeps the game fun.”
The experience lends greater weight to his message to other fathers.
“They have plenty of time to play with their buddies, but they are running out of time to play with their daughters,” he said.