It’s all in the family at Valley
It’s all in the family at Valley
By Rich Holm
As you read this story the Valley girls golf team, in its 20th and final season, will be playing for its first State Golf Championship in the Class 1A tourney in Marshalltown May 28-29.
It is the top-ranked Tigers’ third straight trip to the finals. Many fans from the school district will travel to the American Legion course and be part of the gallery as the team tries to make history.
McKenna Lembke, Jodi Schott, Lexi Moser, Bailey Moser, Alison Mitts, Jacqueline Fettkether, Chandler Luzum, and coach Robin Madole received a big sendoff as they boarded the RV of Keith and Darlene Johnson of Elgin.
The Johnsons have taken the girls to State in style the past two years.
Win or lose, the girls will always be champs, especially with their families. It has been family that has molded the team into what it is today.
Families like the Hellers, Ellises, Mosers, Schotts, Lembkes, Burgins, and others look forward to Sunday summer nights. They all head to Pleasant Valley Sports Club, for an evening of fun with their spouses and children.
They draw for partners and form foursomes to play a four-person, best-shot format. The two teams that have the highest scores know they have to buy pizza for everyone as the evening ends at T.J. Pizza’s in downtown Clermont.
This family fun has been a key in the Valley team’s success. Three of the top golfers on the team, Jodi Schott and Lexi and Bailey Moser, are directly related because their mothers are sisters.
Mary Schott and Tammy Moser are the daughters of LaVerne and Lee Imoehl of Clermont. Tammy was one of her school’s greatest basketball players, scoring more than 1,000 career points, but ironically, neither of her golfing daughters played basketball.
Tammy said, “As parents, Brian and I let the girls make their own choices, and when they do we are happy for them. Watching Lexi and Bailey on the course has been so much fun.”
Mary Schott was a cheerleader when she attended Valley. She and her husband, Dan, have been in awe watching their Jodi develop as a golfer, because she didn’t swing a club until she was a sophomore.
When Jodi was a freshman, she ran track and qualified for State in the 4x200 relay. Her greatest love was softball, but then golf came along. She started to drive the ball farther than the boys did.
Course manager Mike Heller stopped what he was doing to see the Schott girl pick up her driver. She consistently drives the ball 275 yards and has driven #2 and #9 greens with her tee shots this spring.
Jodi and Lexi are two of five seniors on the team. The others are Jacqueline, Chandler, and Alison.
The two cousins have also qualified individually at the State Meet as Regional medalists, but it is winning a team trophy that has driven both girls this spring, knowing they will all be “Tigers” for one last time.
As Jodi, Lexi, and Bailey warm up on the putting green and driving range, the proudest people watching them are their grandparents, LaVerne and Lee Imoehl.
The Imoehls have a total of 26 grandchildren, and they do a good job following each one of them, encouraging their granddaughters or grandsons in whatever they do.
The Imoehls started to play golf 27 years ago when they drove to the par-3 course in Waukon. They swung a club for the first time and haven’t stopped since. Pleasant Valley Sports Club opened in 1993 to the delight of everyone in the valley.
Grandpa and Grandma Imoehl haven’t had a chance to slow down as Lexi, Bailey, and Jodi were also starters on Valley’s varsity volleyball team.
LaVerne said that when things slow down a little, he wants to play a round with his three granddaughters before two of them go off to college.
Jodi Schott has not chosen a college yet, but Wartburg and NIACC have shown interest. If she performs well at State with college scouts looking on, her phone may not stop ringing when she returns home.
Lexi wants to major in business at UNI. She didn’t play golf until she was a freshman after being talked into joining the team.
Once again, it was like family as Megan Britt persuaded Lexi to give golf a try. The team needed more players so Lexi talked her friend, Alison Mitts, into coming out, too. The rest has been history.
Bailey Moser is only a freshman, so she and the underclassmen are the future of Valley golf that will join hands with North Fayette next year to become North Fayette Valley.
The girls were excited to learn that their coach, Robin Madole, has been hired by NFV to coach the team next spring.
Madole stated, “My goal is the same as it has been here, and that is to make the game fun and to get family involved.
“Within our new school district, we have three of the finest courses around. Whether it is here or in West Union or in Fayette, we have to get the kids out on the course this summer and fall, and families can help.”
Madole knows good and well because she has seen it on her own team, realizing there are other girls out there who have never picked up a golf club.
“It’s never too late to do so,” said Robin. “Families should encourage each other to give golf a try. Most people who do it find golf to be fun and end up playing for a long, long time.”
It is evident families have played a big role in Valley’s success and will continue to do in the future. Even grandparents like the Imoehls encourage their grandchildren to play golf because it is a sport that people can play their entire lives.
When golf is fun, there is no pressure when playing, and that’s why Valley is where it is today, as one of the favorites to win it all.
Coach Madole gets much of the credit as she puts her team in relaxed mode.
Recently she took her cell phone camera and wanted to make a movie of her six girls on the putting green. She told them to all line up behind each other with their putters and balls.
Robin told the girls that they would all putt at the same time showing them how to raise their putters so each ball could have a chance as it headed to the hole.
The video is now on YouTube as people watch the girls in their synchronized putt. All six balls are seen following each other as they plop-plop-plop-plop-plop-plop and disappear into the cup.
Of course, the coach and girls all go wild at the sight, laughing and smiling.
Everyone hopes the laughing and smiling will be repeated Wednesday, May 29. But whatever happens friends and relatives will be there to see it because at Valley, it’s all in the family!
Cutline: Every Sunday night at Pleasant Valley Sports Club no fewer than six families get together for a four-person, best-shot tourney, in which the high scorers have to buy everyone pizza at T.J.’s. Family has played a big role in the Valley High School golf team’s success this year as (l to r) Lee Imoehl, Jodi Schott, Mary Schott, LaVerne Imoehl, Lexi Moser, Bailey Moser, and Tammy Moser to and find their golf balls.