Their high school careers behind them, it’s time for former Center Grove golfers Austin Crowder, Christopher Heck and Zack Carrabine to scatter.
Challenges await the trio in the weeks ahead as each attempts to build upon his own shot-making repertoire with the start of college only a few dogleg lefts away.
Crowder will play for the men’s golf program at IUPUI, Heck at the University of Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Carrabine will attempt to make Butler University’s 2015-2016 squad as a walk-on during competition at the end of July.
“It’s going to be a few tournaments less than last summer. Probably five or six. I’ll be playing the Indiana State Junior Championship and after that mostly amateur events,” said Carrabine, the Trojans’ No. 4 golfer who tied for 12th-place individually at last week’s State Finals with a 75-71-146.
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“I’ll basically use the summer to reflect on my high school career while working on different stuff and tightening my game up for the next level.”
The first item on Heck’s itinerary was Sunday’s Indiana Open Qualifier played at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin.
Heck fired an even-par 72 on the 6,708-yard layout (blue tees), while Crowder finished with a 79.
For Heck, his busy July features returning to Prairie View in Carmel, host of the 2015 IHSAA State Finals, for the U.S. Amateur qualifier on July 13. He’ll also take part in the Indiana Match Play Championship July 21-24 at Harrison Lake in Columbus.
In golf, there is strategy. This applies to what summer tournament to play and not play.
“I’m not playing in any junior golf tournaments because of my age and to get college-ready. I need to play as close to 7,000-plus yardage, and these tournaments reflect that,” said Heck, the No. 3 man on the Trojans’ state runner-up team.
“I’m not playing in as many tournaments because these tournaments could last up to four days depending on how well you play. I felt these were the best because of the big fields and the yardage.”
UIndy men’s and women’s coach and Greenwood resident Brent Nicoson emphasizes to incoming Greyhounds players the importance summer competition can have going into the freshmen season in college. It’s a transition in which everything from physical conditioning to concentration during competition must be improved.
Most of the events Nicoson’s men’s team played last season were laid out to measure not less than 7,000 yards. Those that didn’t made up for it with more difficult pin placements.
For sake of comparison, Prairie View set up for the boys State Finals at 6,836 yards.
“College is tougher setups and longer courses, obviously. That’s why our Indiana Junior Golf Association has made some of the (summer) tournaments 36 holes to mirror college tournaments,” Nicoson said.
“I like to see players coming into our program playing tougher, longer golf courses rather than winning the easy (tournaments).”
The benefits of a grueling summer schedule might not lower one’s 18-hole stroke average, though the benefits are often felt in late-August and early-September when college teams traditionally tee off their seasons.
“At this point they are really starting to focus on how to shape different shots, bending shots or fading them,” Center Grove golf coach Jim Williams said.
“It keeps them sharpening their skill level. When they know they can go against some of the top horses in the state, that’s a huge confidence boost.”
Below are some of the key men’s golf competitions taking place in Indiana this summer:
June 22-25: Indiana Amateur Championship (Otter Creek, Columbus)
July 6-9: Indiana Open Championship (Brickyard Crossing, Indianapolis)
July 13: U.S. Amateur Qualifier (Prairie View, Carmel)
July 21-24: IGA Match Play Championship (Harrison Lake, Columbus)