Girls golf: Lakers hope to shake up 8-3A field behind a standout senior and hungry newcomers

With its sights set on defending Class 3A state champions, the Detroit Lakes girls golf team is looking to make some noise in Section 8-3A behind a standout senior

Mallow LEAD PHOTO.jpg
McKenna Mallow placed in the top 10 at this year's Minnesota Junior PGA Championship. Mallow led the Lakers to a third-place finish at the Becker invite on Tuesdya, Arp. 18, 2022.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo

DETROIT LAKES – Of the 11 teams who played in the Lady Bulldog Invite in Becker last Tuesday, few of them had chances to hit actual golf balls yet this spring. Detroit Lakes, however, had been hitting balls for weeks.

The new golf simulator at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse, as part of the Detroit Lakes High School renovations, has given the Lakers an advantage not all teams have during a snow-ridden April.

"I'd say we're a step ahead of a lot of teams because we've gotten to hit golf balls," Detroit Lakes head coach Dustin Martin said. "I talked to a lot of the coaches yesterday (at the Becker invite), and they were saying they've only got to hit whiffle balls in a gym. The simulator room, whether it's practices or kids coming in their free time, is always being used. On weekends, it's always running. Both the boys and girls team use it all the time."

Senior McKenna Mallow's medalist performance aided the Lakers' third-place finish. She shot a five-over-par 78 on the day to take first place in the field. Detroit Lakes' lone senior on the roster committed to the University of Northern Iowa in the fall and will golf at the Division I level next school year.

2 Golf Simulator.jpg
The Detroit Lakes golf teams practice in the newly built Lakeshirts Fieldhouse in the golf simulator under the track in the Southwest end of the complex.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"She's a vocal leader, and she leads by example," Martin said of Mallow. "She interacts with the other girls whether they're shooting 85 or 120. Being the only senior on the team, she's not standoffish. She takes the other girls under her wing."


Mallow took her game to another level on the Minnesota State High School League's most prominent stage a year ago. Her brilliant second-day performance at Bunker Hills catapulted her into the top ten as she closed out her junior season on a high note.

"McKenna took the bull from the horns after the Covid year," Martin said. "She became the leader of our team. Her breakthrough was shooting one-under-par at the state tournament to finish seventh and be on the All-State team. From a coaching perspective, when you show up to a meet and know the best player is coming out of your vehicle, it's always a good feeling."

For Detroit Lakes to make a run as a team at the Section 8-3A championships, Mallow and the Lakers will need to bring their best. Alexandria, the defending section champions, won the Class 3A state title last spring. The Cardinals back bring their entire roster in 2022 for another shot at state gold.

Hannah Knoop.jpg
Detroit Lakes' Hanna Knoop was the medalist at the Staples Vintage Saturday, May 22, 2021.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo

"Our expectation is to give Alexandria a run for its money and make them earn another trip to state," Martin said. "Not many times do defending state champs bring every player back from the team that won. I think we know we can play with them, but we'll have to get a few breaks to beat them. But we have the talent here on this team. I believe that."

While girls like Mallow and Hanna Knoop return with a good amount of varsity experience, the bottom part of the Lakers' top-six isn't finalized. Martin is excited to see new faces eager to make a name for themselves at a young age.

"I see a lot of our younger girls want to play varsity golf," Martins said. "We have four seventh-graders looking to fill the Nos. 5 and 6 spots on our roster. It'll push them to play better and get better. I like seeing the girls being competitive with each other."

The biggest challenge for the Lakers this season will be staying mentally tough when the going gets rough. '

"We need to control what we can control," Martin said. "We have no control over what any of the other teams or girls shoot. We need to make the most important shots we take, and that's the next shot. We need to stay in the present. It's hard to do, but that's our goal."


Tatum G.jpg
Detroit Lakes' Tatum Gatheridge carded a career-low round at Fergus Falls in 2021. She's back with the Lakers as an eight grader for the 2022 season.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo


April 21 at Pequot Lakes, 12:30 p.m.

April 22 at Fergus Falls, TBD

April 23 at Fergus Falls, 9:30 a.m.

April 27 at Alexandria, 10 a.m.

April 29 at Bemidji, 9:30 a.m.

May 6 at Minnewaska, 11 a.m.

May 12 at St. Cloud, 9 a.m.

May 13 at Rocori, 10 a.m.

May 16 Mid-State (DL Country Club)

May 18 at Brainerd, 9 a.m.

May 20 at Bunker Hills, 11:30 a.m.

May 21 at Bunker Hills, 11:30 a.m.

May 24 Home Invite (Country Club) 1 p.m.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
What To Read Next
Get Local