Family acts headline area high school golf teams

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September 24, 2009

The forgettable “Sister Act 2; Back in the Habit,” bombed at the theatres.

But the sister acts of Brooke and Allyssa Ferrell, along with Ashton, Laura and Stephanie Stair, are playing to rave reviews.

Edgerton High’s Allyssa Ferrell, a senior, and freshman Brooke are two of the top golfers in the Rock Valley Conference.

Allyssa, a Michigan State University recruit, will be seeking a fourth straight trip to the WIAA state meet. She has finished third twice in Division 1 and fourth last year in Division 2.

She also won the Parker Invitational for the second straight year last Saturday at Riverside Golf Course in Janesville.

Allyssa followed that up by winning the nine-hole Rock Valley Conference tournament Wednesday by seven strokes with a 36.

Ashton Stair, a junior and state qualifier a year ago, leads a young and talented Milton team that could probably be atop the Badger Conference except for the presence of eight-time defending state champion Madison Edgewood.

Ashton led the Red Hawks at the Badger Conference South meet Wednesday with an 83.

Twins Laura and Stephanie are quality freshmen players who solidify the team’s chances of reaching the state tournament for the first time in school history.

So what do the Ferrell and Stair sisters have in common?

For starters, both sets grew up with a golf course in their backyard. Brad and Leslie Ferrell’s house is adjacent to the 10th fairway at Edgerton Towne Country Club, while a fence is all that separates the Stair home from No. 16 tee box at Oak Ridge.

“My parents (Brett and Patrice) are both big golfers, and they took us out when they thought we were old enough to start playing,” Laura Stair said. “And after Ashton made it to state last year, that made us want to play that much more.”

While Ashton has tried to be as supportive as possible with her younger sisters and avoid any criticism, Allyssa has been forced to administer “tough love” at times to Brooke.

The younger Ferrell has all the necessary ability, as evidenced by her fourth-place finish at the Parker Invitational, but Allyssa said there’s much more to the game than showing up to play.

“It’s a grind, and it’s not supposed to be easy, and there were times earlier in the year where Brooke needed to understand that,” Allyssa said. “And even though I’ve pushed her, I’m so proud of her because she’s worked so hard.

“She’s already ahead of where I was as a freshman. And I’m really sad when I think that this year is almost over. It has been so much fun.”

Ashton has high hopes for the Red Hawks this season and can look forward to another year. She said the experience has been everything she thought it would be.

“I was really looking forward to having my sisters on varsity, and it has been even more fun than I thought it would be,” Ashton said. “There have been a lot more good days than bad.

“And we’ve all had our lowest rounds recently. Our No. 1 goal this year was to get to state as a team, and if everybody keeps playing well, that could happen.”

Allyssa normally plays one group behind Brooke, so the Ferrell sisters have come up with an unorthodox system of hand signals to relay how each hole or round is going. Edgerton coach Steve Zartman said even he couldn’t figure out how the system works.

“They’re constantly interacting with each other, but besides the two of them, nobody knows what they’re saying,” Zartman said. “It’s like a secret little code.

“It may be a pointing a finger in the air or a wave of a hand, or some other goofy signal, but it goes on throughout the whole round. I guess the signal can mean how’d you do on that hole? Or how’s the round going?

“ I don’t even try to figure it out, and I don’t think they want me or anyone else to know.”

The unconventional style has worked for the Ferrell sisters, while the Stair sisters are thriving the conventional way.

A pair of sister acts that are going to be hard to follow.

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