Brainerd Panthers Are Teeing It Up

Boys Golf is newest sport

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - by B.B. Branton
Brainerd Boys Golf Team: kneeling (l-r) head coach Kevin Kauchak, assistant coach Will Casey
back row (l-r) Michael Julius, Kadarius Scott, Micah Darden, Tyree Stubbs, Charmichael Jefferson, James Ford
Brainerd Boys Golf Team: kneeling (l-r) head coach Kevin Kauchak, assistant coach Will Casey back row (l-r) Michael Julius, Kadarius Scott, Micah Darden, Tyree Stubbs, Charmichael Jefferson, James Ford
- photo by Wesley Schultz

 

“For a group of students who have never played golf, it is amazing how far they have come in just a few practices since mid-July. I am impressed with their great attitude as they learn a new sport.”

Kevin Kauchak, Brainerd HS golf coach

 

Six pair of eyes watch intently as their coaches show proper technique.

Six pair of ears listen and do their best to compute the complexity of hitting a little white ball straight and far.

A half dozen young men have come together to form the Brainerd High School boys’ golf team and lay the foundation for what the school administration feels is a bright future for the sport.

One (Tyree Stubbs) is a senior on the basketball team, another (Kadarius Scott) is a sophomore on the school debate team and a member of the student council, while a third (Michael Julius) is a junior likes to play just to get some exercise.

And a fourth - freshman James Ford - is the golf veteran on the team having gone through The First Tee of Chattanooga program for the past three summers offered through the Avondale Recreation Center.

“Many teachers and students at school are excited that we are starting a golf team and it has been a cool experience in introducing these guy to a new sport,” said coach Kevin Kauchak (Cow-check).

“We have a swimming facility and tennis courts adjacent to our campus and a nice golf course a mile down the road, “ said Brainerd High School principal Uras Agee. “We have plenty of talented athletes in the school and offering the country club sports of golf, tennis and swimming to our students is way over do.

“I think in time we can do well in all three sports.”

Taking a short break from hitting range balls at the Wilcox Driving Range Wednesday afternoon, Ford promptly answers, “respect for other players, courtesy and responsibility,” to the question posed him of what he learned through The First Tee of Chattanooga program.

He then turns his attention back to hitting the little white ball and hits a clean shot 120 yards straight to the intended target, followed by a dribbler off the artificial carpet and another long shot which would have worked fine on a hole playing dogleg right.

“I have made good progress in the last few weeks as my first shot went two feet and now I can hit a solid 5-iron,” he said with a smile and confidence.

“Just hitting the ball, period is a challenge for me,” stated sophomore Micah Darden who listens as assistant coach Will Casey offers advice.

Some Guy Named Palmer? While setting up for a team photo, the players were asked if they knew who recently crowned PGA champion Jason Dufner is and  three hands went up in the affirmative, while three more hands went skyward knowing that Phil Mickelson had also won a big tournament this summer. A couple of student-athletes recognized the name Jack Nicklaus.  All knew Tiger Woods, but the king, Arnold Palmer was a mystery.

Need For Equipment: What is not a mystery is while Ford hits a few good shots with a borrowed 5-iron, he and his teammates are not only way behind their golfing piers at other schools in Hamilton County in much-needed knowledge and experience in golf strategy, they are sorely lacking in equipment in a country club sport that requires good funding.

“Local Chili’s Restaurants have been great in giving money to cover visors, golf shirts and shorts for our matches, but we still need other items,” said Kauchak who would like to add girls golf next fall.

He also noted that Tennessee Golf Foundation through the assistance of Dori Paschall, regional director for Chattanooga, has donated some clubs and bags for the players.

Golf Clubs, Golf Shoes and More … : “The folks at Brainerd Golf Course and here at Wilcox Driving Range have been great to give our guys discounts, but we need a complete set of clubs and a bag for each player and golf shoes,” said coach  Casey who is an assistant pro at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. “We are hoping we can get either individuals or corporations to help support our golf team.”

“If you had seen them the first day of practice a month ago and then come back today you would be amazed at the progress they have made,” stated Kauchak who also teaches math and is the Brainerd girls varsity assistant basketball coach. 

“I am also well aware that hitting balls at the driving range and playing nine holes is totally different and a huge challenge for these guys.”

First Match: The Panthers first challenge will be a home match on Aug. 28 with the McCallie Junior Varsity at the Brainerd Golf Course.

Kauchak said, “we also host Chattanooga Central on Sept. 4 and I am working on a date to play Arts and Sciences and also want to have away matches with the same  three schools.”

In a school known for its rich tradition in track, basketball and football, coach Kauchak and principal Agee believe with enough resources and the students putting in the time to develop their skills, a solid new sport will emerge on North Moore Road.

“I am excited to have such a young team so that when they are juniors and seniors they can look back on this first year with pride in knowing they started something special at Brainerd High School and all the hard work will have paid off.

And the swings and misses and errant tee shots for players such as Micah Darden and James Ford hopefully will be few and far between during the next few years as they watch, learn and try to emulate their game after Dufner, Woods and even some guy named Palmer.

         

Contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Mahle Rallies To Claim Choo-Choo Title

Matthew Mahle ralled Wednesday and won the Choo-Choo Invitational at Council Fire. Mahle trailed Nick Blakely by two strokes as he readied to play No. 16. Then on No. 18, Mahle rolled in an eagle putt to claim the title. A sophomore at the College of Charleston, shot a 1-nder 71 on Wednesday and finished three-day tournament at 6-under 210. He finished one shot ahead of ... (click for more)

UTC Football Mocs Look to "Do More" in 2014

UTC football coach Russ Huesman has a sign which reads, “Do More”. At the end of last football season after UTC earned a share of the Southern Conference title, but did not earn a berth in the NCAA tournament coach Huesman gave each player one of those signs as a reminder and motivation. “After the selection show last November I gave each player a sign ... (click for more)

House Approves Expansion Of Chattanooga Veterans Affairs Clinic

The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to authorize funding for a new lease and expanded Veterans Affairs clinic in Chattanooga. This veterans’ package has been approved by the House and Senate Conference Committee.  Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said, “I am proud to announce the legislation passed this afternoon will fund a new lease for a multi-specialty ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Council To Hold Special Meeting On Naming New City Judge

The Cleveland City Council will hold a special called meeting next Monday to consider an interim appointment of a city judge. It will be at 11:45 a.m. at the City Council’s regular meeting place in the Cleveland Municipal Building, 190 Church Street, NE. The council will also establish the process for application for city judge. Longtime City Judge Bill Moss died July ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mark’s 50th Anniversary Toast

In the new book that celebrates the first 50 years of baseball’s Southern League, its splendid author Mark McCarter recalls that very early in his career as a sports writer, he was riding with his boss somewhere and mentioned that if the legendary Allan Morris ever needed help covering the Chattanooga Lookouts that he’d love to help. Today, as he looks back, he ruefully adds, “I ... (click for more)