Richland — Hank Livingston is a great example of how the golf course can be fickle and why it’s important not to give up.
Gull Lake’s sophomore started in last year’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Golf Championship, posting 11 on one hole in the second round.
“He’s my number two and can hit 11,” coach TR Walters said, shaking his head.
But Livingston shrugged it off and finished the round with a 79.
“He literally birdied the next two holes,” said Walters. “The Flint Powers coach said to me, have you seen what happened to your number two?”
“I said yes, I was on high with him.”
Powers’ coach designated on the green.
“What?” said Mr. Walters. “He literally missed a couple of inches of putts.”
Walters said he couldn’t believe it. “(Livingston) said, ‘Coach, I just missed 10 putts,'” Walters said. “He said, ‘I reached out to tap and I just bounced the club on it.'”
Neither Walters nor Livingston panicked.
“When I heard him say that, I thought, ‘This kid’s going to be okay,’ and then he birdied the last two holes,” Walters recalled. “Throwing 11 RBIs as a freshman doesn’t just give up. That’s a pretty good sign.”
It was a great sign.
The Blue Devils finished runner-up to Brother Rice of Bloomfield Hills in the final, while Livingston tied for 18th with a 157 at Meadows, Grand Valley.
Things may be a little tougher this year with the graduation of Bryce Wheeler, who won medalist honors that weekend and was named Michigan’s Mr. Golf last spring.
However, the team is off to another successful start this season, winning the Greater Kalamazoo Tournament and the Coldwater Invitational.
Will Beardsley, who played Gull Lake’s youth soccer team in the Division 2 Championship this fall, said everyone needs to level up this year without Wheeler.
“Consistency is important for us this year,” he said. “As long as everyone can play consistently and everyone can play as a team and support each other.
“Last year was more of a one-man show. This year is definitely more balanced. Everyone is contributing more this year than one person getting 4-under.”
As the only senior on the team, Beardsley, nicknamed “Will the Thrill” by his coaches, said he feels like an “old man”.
“I see my role as gaining experience,” he said. “If you have any questions about the verdict, I have a few more years of experience and I can usually answer them.
“I can tell them all about what a game day is going to be like, what they’re going to do on the practice range, what they’re going to do on the putting green, what they’re going to do off the course. .”
Beardsley fell in love with golf at the age of five, influenced by his grandfather, Bud Baldwin, who was a golf coach at Portage Northern High School.
Another Blue Devil with a bit of golfing experience is sophomore Chase Cosin. He is the great-grandson of Lisa and Dahl Scott, who founded the Gull Lakeview Golf Course in Richland in 1962.
The North Course in the Bedford Valley is the team’s home course, although Gull Lake does most of its training at this course.
“I was mad at Chase,” Walters said. “I see a lot of his grandfather in him. If there’s trash on the golf course, it goes in his golf bag.
“He’s an outstanding kid.
Livingstone also has a history of golf. His uncle Tom Harding played golf at Michigan State University and is in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
Another returning golfer is junior Ben Sabo.
“He was our number three last year, had some great falls and played in a number of junior tournaments,” Walters said. “He started playing golf much better. He’s also one of those kids who always loves being on the golf course.”
Walters gets help from an unexpected source. Junior Bo Kerr, who was Plainwell’s No. 1 golfer last season, has moved into the area.
“He’s great,” Beardsley said of Kerr. “He’s fun to be with, he’s a great player and I hope he fills the void we’ve lost this year.”
Kerr also has state tournament experience. As a freshman in 2021, he was on his side Plainwell, who reached his LPD2 final and finished 18th.
“Me and four seniors,” he said. “Once they graduated, the next year was much harder.”
“It was the first time in 17 years that Plainwell reached the state,” he added. It was a big achievement for us. ”
Walters, a junior high school social studies teacher, graduated from Gulllake College, where his primary sport was baseball.
He took up golf after injuring his knee while playing basketball at Kellogg Community College.
“I actually played golf for the first time at Ballybunion Golf Course in County Kerry, Ireland,” he said. “I was playing basketball in a tournament over there and I was playing Ballybunion and thought it was kind of fun.”
When Walters learned that eye-hand coordination was good for golf, he was hooked.
He has worked at Battle Creek’s Bedford Valley Golf Course for the past 24 years, playing every day he can.
“I got to a point where I could qualify for the Michigan Open and some events like that before my kids,” he added.
Kerr summed up the feelings of many golfers and said: You will never be able to understand it.
“You can have one great day and then the next day it feels like you haven’t hit a golf ball in two weeks. Unfortunately, it’s all part of the journey.”
Pam Shebest was a sportswriter for the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985 to 2009, after working part-time for the Gazette for 11 years while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. You can contact her by: [email protected] Includes story ideas for Calhoun County, Kalamazoo County, and Van Buren County.
photograph (Above) Gull Lake’s Ben Szabo teeing off at last season’s LPD2 Finals in Meadows, Grand Valley. (Middle) From left, Gull Lake Boys golf coach TR Walters, Will Beardsley, and Bo Kerr. (Below) Beardsley works on his short game during practice this spring. (top photo by high school sports scene. All other photos are by Pam Shebest. )