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Golfing in the summer heat
Gainesville High gains program stability in offseason
Gainesville High's Will Frankum looks to improve this offseason by playing in summer tourneys. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Gainesville High’s golfers know that playing over the summer isn’t a requirement to stay on the team and certainly isn’t always fun when the temperature approaches triple digits. However, with a roster stacked with depth for the coming season, it’s a good idea to stay as sharp as possible with summer tournaments.

From rising seniors down to the middle school ranks, the Red Elephants have stayed active playing tournaments on different circuits and posted some pretty solid scores along the way.

“All the kids on our team have goals what they want to do,” Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said. “Most of these kids have lofty goals and want to go on and play in college, and it’s my job to try and steer them in the right direction.”

And with high school golf, for college-bound athletes that means playing to get recruited over the summer months. Some play in the Georgia State Golf Association, Southeast Junior tour, and others in the Atlanta Junior Golf Association. Still, the goal for all is to shave as many strokes off their game as possible against high-level competition.

“It’s crucial just to stay in golf mode during the summer,” said rising Gainesville senior Matthew Cindea. “Since we’re all on the same team, we all want to be on the same page together.”

Aside from the willingness to go along with the program, Worley also looks at this team’s depth as a key factor for success as a team. It just so happens, that from top to bottom through the class ranks, he’s got two players at each grade level for the coming season. That’s the kind of stability Worley says that Gainesville’s program hasn’t experienced in a number of seasons.

“During the summer, we use these tournaments to get experience,” Worley said. “We also try to identify a player’s individual strengths and weaknesses.”

Right at the top with the seniors, Will Frankum and Cindea have done their part. Cindea won the Atlanta Junior tournament at Hawk’s Ridge with an 18-hole total of 72 on July 19, while Frankum took 19th overall with a 36-hole total of 153 in the Greystone Junior Classic on July 14-15 in Dickson, Tenn.

Cindea shot an even par, his lowest score this summer, even after bogeying the first hole at the course that hosted the state championships in 2008. He came off that slow start with a par and a pair of birdies over the next three holes. Then on No. 18, he birdied to round out the day with four birdies and an equal number of bogeys.

“Even after I bogeyed that first hole, I knew I just had to keep my head up,” Cindea said.

The strength right now for the Red Elephants is in their numbers. Sophomore Pep Brown has been hoping around from tournaments this summer and even won a pair of GSGA events, shooting a personal best of 73 at Chattahoochee Golf Course in one event. Along with that, he placed second at a Junior Optimist event at Chicopee Woods (74) and seventh in a 36-hole SJT stop in Marietta (150).

This weekend, he’ll be part looking to win in the flighted divisions at the City-County championship.

One of the tools that the Red Elephants’ players says has been an asset is reading a book ‘Golf’s Sacred Journey’ by David Cook. Worley says the book is about golf and how to put it into perspective with everything else that is important in life.

Gainesville’s coach was made aware of the book when Frankum told him that it was a must read. Worley knew that any book that could captivate a high school crowd must have something going for it. After reading it, he ordered copies for the rest of the team during the 2010 season.

“I was mesmerized by it,” Worley said. “It’s really a phenomenal book.”

Even though it touches more on life away from the links, the book also gave players some advice to what it takes to lower their scores.

“The book has a saying, ‘see it, feel it, trust it,’” Brown said. “It’s saying, even if it’s a crazy shot to just trust it.”

Strictly from a score standpoint, Worley says that junior Carson Brown has probably improved the most. Recently, he tied for 10th overall with a 77 in the Georgia Junior PGA Summer Series at the Capital City Crabapple Course. His brother Parks, also a junior, finished one-shot back in the same event (78) that earned 15th place.

Worley says a pair of rising freshmen Jackson Bishop and Grant Lasseter have also competed well without a season of high school golf yet under their belt.

Sophomore Reeves Bell carded an even-par 72 in the Atlanta Junior tournament at the Chestatee Golf Course on July 15.

“This is a special group of high-character kids we have on this team,” Worley said. “I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of being a relevant team at a high level.”

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