Clinic preps high school players with tryouts on the horizon

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Golf pros Patterson, Hanley teach the tricks of the game ahead of the 2013 season

By Michael Hicks

It’s the handling of the club. It’s foot placement. It’s how much divot is taken on any given shot.
Steve Patterson, a PGA golf pro, meticulously works with golfers from Evergreen and Golden high schools on a cool Thursday afternoon at Hiwan Golf Club to prepare them for the 2013 season. There’s a lot of hands-on teaching between him and fellow golf pro Kevin Hanley. More than that, there’s the teaching of the mental aspects of the game to help the players understand that they must practice the way they play.
For four days over two weeks, concluding Aug. 1, Patterson’s and Hanley’s goal was to have the dozen or so golfers at the clinic as prepared as they could be for their respective high school tryouts.
“The big insight is to get them prepared for tryouts. It’s to let them understand what it will be like if they do or don’t make the team,” Hanley said. “It’s the dedication they need to spend toward their golf swing and their overall golf game.”
Golf is as much a mental game as it is physical. As Hanley said, it’s about players making sure there are as few moving parts as possible with every stroke.
“I’m just trying to perfect things, all the things that I need to work on,” Evergreen High junior and returning player Evan King said. “I’m just making sure going into tryouts that my swing is perfect and I can play the best that I can.”
That, in a nutshell, is what Patterson and Hanley were striving for when they arranged the clinic. And, rest assured, if an individual needed to work on something, Patterson and Hanley would address it. If they didn’t, then a relatively new $25,000 piece of machinery — the Trackman — would. The high-tech Doppler radar equipment piece tracks the swing of the golf club with the flight of the ball and explains how far it went, where it went, and why.
“Trackman is the first machine program that could mesh the data of the golf club and the golf ball to know exactly what just happened to make the ball do what it did. It’s indisputable. There’s no error to it,” Patterson said. “It’s able to understand what the golf club did to make the ball respond as it did.”
EHS freshman Jack Orth said that Trackman helps players see if they have made the best possible shot.
“You just take it one step at a time. You think with the putt if that was good, then go to the next putt and see if that is good,” Orth said.
Holding the clinic at Hiwan Golf Club proved to be beneficial. Unlike most courses, where practice shots are reserved for a flat surface, Hiwan offers a variety of angles, including a hump, to give golfers shots that might lie on an uphill or downhill orientation.
“A great golf course does require you to be able to hit all the shots. The hump right there is something that most ranges don’t have. It’s a great opportunity to practice like you play,” Patterson said.
And practicing like one plays is what Patterson and Hanley want these golfers to do.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.