The fall high school athletics season is officially underway. Boys golf teams will hit driving ranges, practice greens and hopefully play a few holes as the sport becomes the first in Colorado to officially begin practice.

The competition season for boys golf teams can begin as early as Thursday.

Boys golf is annually the first sport to start both practice and competition in the state and for coaches and players alike, it marks the start of official school athletic gatherings. And it’s something that they’ve been looking forward to as they know summer is reaching it’s end.

“It’s great getting that connection back with the kids,” Frederick coach Chris De Santis said. “It was always something that I missed during my offseason is being able to talk to those kids every day, see their smiling faces and try to help them get better at a game we all want to get better at.”

The start of this season has a bittersweet tone to it. Golf was a sport that led by the late Tom Robinson, who served as the associate commissioner of CHSAA up until his passing earlier this year.

New assistant commissioner Michael Book will fill Robinson’s role as golf commissioner and even though the sport has a tendency of running smoothly, there is no doubt Book has large shoes to fill.

“Mike is going to do a good job,” De Santis said. “He’ll definitely ask for opinions on some things to see what’s working and how we can make golf great in the state of Colorado.”

While golf is the first sport to begin, it is also the first sport to team for state championships. The dates for all three classifications are Oct. 3-4. The Class 3A state tournament will be held at Pinehurst Country Club, 4A will be at Pelican Lakes in Greeley and 5A will be played at Denver’s City Park.

Aspen, Riverdale Ridge and Arapahoe all claimed team championships last season and will try to defend those crowns.

All three individual champions – Connor Downey (Vail Christian), Brentyn Paiz (Windsor) and Will Kates (Arapahoe) – were seniors last year, paving the way for new champions to be crowned this fall.

For each player with ambitions of shooting low rounds and claiming titles at the end of the year, the work must have already begun. Golf is traditionally a fickle game and one where repetitions are crucial, perhaps more crucial than any other sport.

“It depends on how much work they’re putting in,” De Santis said. “Are they putting in a lot of work in the offseason? I hope so, especially with the boys having the whole summer to play and prepare for this fall season.”

The season begins on Thursday with four tournaments being played in various parts of the state, marking the official end of the high school athletics summer break.