HIGHLAND PARK — Even when Highland Park boys golfer Noah Apter is not making shots, he’s playing the game the right way.
The Giants senior is a four-year varsity participant. He and junior Noah Fishbein are the most experienced players on a Highland Park roster of loaded with juniors and sophomores. With that experience comes expectations.
“We have a lot of new guys on varsity. It’s been a lot of [learning] how to be a member of a golf team and how to score as a team,” Apter said. “How to take the smart route and take off one or two shots that will contribute to the overall score.”
That’s where Apter is taking a hands-on approach.
On the bus ride to meets, Apter can often be heard reminding his teammates to think about the task at hand. One topic might be what club golfers should use in certain situations. He’ll recommend visualizing shots, a practice that can help players put up better scores.
Having played the Giants’ home course, Sunset Valley Golf Club, dozens of times, Apter can offer advice on each hole.
“I give hints about the course. If I’m [out of bounds] and in a hazard, if you hit this club you can carry over these trees and there’s a gap where if you hit it way right, you are wide open. It’s about making good decisions,” Apter said. “A lot of the guys are not quite used to the intensity of these dual meets. It’s about getting them focused and not messing around.”
Apter has also helped first-year coach Scott Leibfried learn the subtleties of high school golf. Leibfried has consulted his senior captain for all sorts of issues, including course management and school traditions.
Apter is the Giants best player, averaging 37.5 strokes per a nine-hole round. Fishbein is close behind with a 38.7 average.
“Even when he has a bad day, it’s a lot of guys’ career days. He’s Mr. Consistency, just our rock,” Leibfried said. “One thing he’s done a great job with is he’s a great communicator to me and the others.”
One example Leibfried cites is the way the Giants insist on leaving a course in better shape than it was when they arrived.
“We have an expectation that when we fix a ball mark on the green, we do it plus one. Fix your ball mark and somebody else’s. Fix your divot and another divot. That’s part of respecting the golf course,” Leibfried said. “[Apter] carries himself with integrity and he’s confident in his abilities.”
His abilities might help the Giants to a CSL championship. The conference tournament will be held at Glencoe Golf Club on Thursday. A Sept. 18 dual meet win over Deerfield boosted the team’s hopes. The Giants will need good rounds from senior Chase Nathan, juniors Ben Udell and Griffin Burstyn and of course, Fishbein and Apter.
Expect Apter to talk to his teammates before the round. He always has a lot to say.
“Pars are always a good score. People say it because it’s true,” Apter said. “Hopefully I’m saving my best golf for later in the year and can make a run at state.”