Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Gary Hartman takes over as Cardinal girls' golf coach


Gary Hartman knows all about fixing things as the head of maintenance for the Medical Lake School District.

Now the hope is the avid golfer can translate some of those skills to coaching the Cardinal girls’ in their defense of the Northeast A League title.

Hartman takes over the program for Ivan Gustafson who accepted a teaching job last year closer to home at Mead. And like golf coaches before him, he’s trying to get players ready for NEA – and hopefully state – competition with time limited by weather.

“There has not been a lot of time on the course so far other than practice,” Hartman said. “We did kind of have a little match with Cheney.”

Hartman’s emphasis, despite only having four players, was to get them into what he called, “the competition mode,” Hartman said. “They did pretty good.”

The scramble gave players a chance to hit balls and included four other schools. Against Cheney everyone broke under 140, which was pleasing, Hartman said.

Hannah Hartman, the coach’s daughter, shot 110 to lead the Cardinals while Abby Zappone shot a 131.

Hartman was more fearful of larger scores, he said. “Being under 150, I’m pretty excited about that.” To slice strokes, Hartman said that would come from improved putting and better drives. “Putting is half the game, you know that.”

Hartman, Kendra Johnson and Zappone are the leading returning players from the defending League champions. Makayla Matapat was part of the team as a freshman, Hartman said.

“It’s time to get out on the course,” Hartman said.

Practice is important, he said, however, getting into real situations more so.

Hartman and boys’ coach Jerry Ornelas are working well together, Hartman said. “It’s been a real pleasure to do this.”

It takes some work, he said, and if he can get the girls to shed about 10 strokes Hartman will call it good for his first year.

One of Hartman’s more entertaining challenges is working with his daughter. When he offers suggestions the reply is often, “I know dad, I know dad.”

The best thing to do is practice, by getting out on the course, that is, Hartman explained. But that’s difficult for some of the younger girls because they do not drive.

Hartman is the first to also suggest the girls take lessons and get a different perspective.

The league season begins right after spring break on Tuesday, April 15 versus Newport at the Fairways.

“You play 18 holes and there’s one shot that brings you back,” is a philosophy Hartman espouses.

The girls get frustrated, he said, but that’s part of the game. “You’re going to get frustrated but you have to shake that one shot off, go to the next and hit it better.”

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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