CHIP SHOTS from The Dome Thoughts from Lou Patscot, USGA Official-Retired
ARROWHEAD HIGH SCHOOL GOLF PROGRAM....UNMATCHED SUCESS
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to watch the Arrowhead Golf Team and have been impressed with their play, poise & sportsmanship. Consistency at the High School level also requires excellent coaching. We asked Greg Budzien their outstanding head coach if he would be kind enough to share some thoughts about the program:
What an honor to be asked to contribute to the Currie Park Dome publication! Currie Park (and George Hansen’s) is where I learned to golf in my youth, so I have a sentimental connection there. Since then, though not a great golfer, I’ve had great experiences as a golf coach at one of the most successful prep boys golf programs around—Arrowhead H.S. My predecessor, Hall of Fame coach Tom Tallmadge, had won an unprecedented four consecutive WIAA Boys State Championships when I became the new head coach. What a tough act to follow! I was understandably apprehensive to take the reins of such an established program, but in my five years as head coach, I’ve been fortunate enough to win two State Championships and one Runner-up. Believe me, this doesn’t come because I’m some coaching genius, but because I have talented and dedicated players who devote themselves to constant improvement. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the Warhawks hitting in a station near you? They’re the ones with the sweet swings learned under the tutelage of some of the state’s best golf instructors. I give all the credit to my players and their swing gurus for Arrowhead’s success. They’re responsible for AHS winning 6 of the last 9 WIAA State Championships! An enviable record by any standard… Hopefully, they’re also some of the nicest and smartest kids you’ll ever meet. Four of my five players on this year’s State Championship team were also Academic All-State. I hope you’ll talk to them, for you’ll find out in a hurry how nice and polite they are as well. Not too hard to have coaching success when the players are smarter and nicer than you… J
So, if I’m not technically their swing “coach,” what do I do besides drive the van and schedule meets and practices? On the course during a match, I’m more “Head Caddy” than “Head Coach.” I serve as another pair of eyes assessing shots, strategies, behavior, and course management. Often I come up to a player and just ask, “What’s the plan?” in reference to their next shot. As curious as I am to know how they’re playing, I restrain myself from asking “How’s it going?” because they then think retroactively rather than about the shot at hand. Our biggest goal every year is to hit every shot “in the moment.” We assess (the shot), commit (to the swing), accept (the result), and repeat.
Strangely, we never have had a team goal to “Win this Invite,” or “Win Conference,” or “Advance to State,” or “Shoot this score,” or “Beat that Team.” Yet, we’ve done ALL those things because of that one goal to hit the next shot as best you can, because if we do that, all the other extrinsic goals and achievements follow naturally. And they have!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t name my 2015 WIAA State Boys Golf Champions: Senior Captain Alec Winston, Senior Captain Andrew Frisinger, senior Vince Natalizio, sophomore Bennett Knapek, and freshman Alex Yost. Hope you get to meet them sometime in the Dome or on the course—they’re the one with the sweet swings and the blessed coach!
(Note: Greg Budzien will start his 6th season next spring as Arrowhead Boys Varsity Golf Coach. Previously, he coached 17 years for the AHS JV Boys under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Tallmadge).