Among the spring high school sports, golf is more individualized than the others.
There are team wins and losses, but for the most part the players are competing against every hole and not necessarily against an opponent, which makes the sport a special challenge for high school level players.
While golf is a sport of skill and precision, what a player has upstairs is paramount to success in golf according to Milford head coach Todd French.
“Skill is definitely a major aspect of this sport, but the mental toughness that is required to play golf is the most important part of the game,” French said. “Golf is player against the course. If you’re not mentally tough, you will not succeed in this sport. The most successful high school golfers are also the players that an forget about a bad shot or a bad hole and move on.”
Entering the week, Milford was at 6-6. However, the growth of the players is the focus heading down the home stretch.
Most high school golf teams are small and Milford’s is no different. Among the nine members, the level of experience varies. Only three were on the squad last season.
When it comes to the team’s newcomers, some had played before, while others were starting from the beginning.
“Jordan Cleveland has the most experience [among the newcomers], Ben Hamilton also has some experience playing prior to high school,” French said. “The sport has a very tough mental side to it and we are hoping that these two can improve both their skills and the mental part of the game.
“The other players, Dom Feightner, Caden Kenton and Trey Lodge are all beginners and are looking to improve on their skills everyday.”
Milford’s experienced returnees, Kyle Strassle, Josh Strassle and Nick Ruczynski , have stood out all season. Kyle, a senior, hopes to build off last year’s success to end his high school career in style.
“Kyle is one of the best players in the state and he proved that last year as a junior, winning the conference and finishing fourth at the state tournament,” French said. “Kyle doesn’t have many weaknesses and the other players look to him for leadership.”
Josh Strassle and Nick Ruczynski appear to be the foundation of the program moving forward.
“Josh and Nick are both sophomores that bring experience to a very inexperienced team,” French said. “Both really enjoy the game and we are counting on them to continue to improve. They’re the future of this team.”