Every Friday is range day for Lake Zurich boys golf team.
Coach Terry Geoghegan sets up several stations around the putting green wherever the Bears are practicing — they use Hawthorn Woods Country Club, Lake Barrington Shores or Countryside Golf Club.
While a few golfers are at the driving range, others hit around the green.
“Some are chipping where they have to get to 40 feet, then 20 feet [from the hole], then two-putt,” Geoghegan said. “We go through a rotation, then switch.”
The idea is to get the Bears comfortable with course management, one of golf’s most challenging aspects. Geoghegan tries to simulate situations that occur during tournament rounds.
“I’ll have them practice from a fairway bunker from 175 yards out and throw four balls down and get the feel of it,” Geoghegan said. “So if they are faced with a shot like that, there’s no question in their minds they don’t know how to hit it.”
Junior Matt Gadomski is the Bears’ most consistent player. A two-sport athlete when he enrolled at Lake Zurich, Gadomski gave up baseball after his freshman year to focus on golf.
His 84 was a team best at the Sept. 15 Ivanhoe Classic at Ivanhoe Country Club in Mundelein. Gadomski said the team range days help the Bears build a tougher mindset.
“Every round you’ll have those big putts and now we now what to do as you’ve practiced and practiced,” Gadomski said. “We have to constantly add pressure [situations].”
Gadomski said one of his favorite exercises involves putting and usually takes place at the end of a practice session.
“We usually have a 30-foot putt that breaks a lot,” Gadomski said. “In order to leave, everyone has to two-putt from there. It takes three or four times to finally make it.”
But when a Bears player makes the putt, there’s a strong feeling of accomplishment. What they want is to carry that over to tournament golf. Gadomski tops a lineup that for most of the season has included seniors Matt Clarkson, Sean Baldwin, Michael Madura and junior Bret Pugliese.
At Ivanhoe, the group of five carded a 371 to finish 12th out of 13 teams. Lake Zurich has an invitational Saturday at Grayslake Central before the Sept. 30 NSC tournament. In between, there will be plenty of days to practice and, hopefully, get comfortable with playing the course.
“We work on our short game so much because we are never out of it,” Geoghegan said. “If it is up to snuff, we can get up and down. The better golfers know this. Often times, it’s course management.”
Gadomski sees the upside.
“My goal is to place well at regionals and go to sectionals,” Gadomski said. “Every guy on this team can score a low number. We have a ton of potential.”