New Berlin West senior golfer Andrew Knoll remembers the shot well. His putt rimmed out at the WIAA sectional last spring at the Brookfield Central Sectional at Wanaki, and he missed going to state by one stroke.
Knoll's attitude about that shot explains his outlook on life.
"I looked at it as a learning experience," he said. "I made it to sectionals. It was disappointing at the time, but I used that disappointment to motivate me, to drive me to push harder this year. It helped knowing I had another year left. But I need to get better, more consistent and I worked hard over the winter."
Sometimes Knoll can be his own worst enemy because of his high level of expectations, but that's where veteran coach Steve Murdock comes into the picture.
"He really looks for details, to a fault. He wants to analyze everything," Murdock said. "It's my job to tell him to keep it simple. He's past the point of me having to teach him how to golf. I'm here to discuss strategy, course management and to keep him positive. If he has a bad shot, he keeps it positive and rolls with it.
"Hey, it's part of the game (bad shots). Bubba Watson had some bad shots and he's still the Masters champion."
Starting golfing young
Knoll's father, Tom, started his son golfing at 3 years old.
"My dad is a huge golfer," Knoll said. "He has been a big golfer all his life. We would golf together and I learned stuff from him at a very early age. He knew the game and that was always good for me."
Knoll loved all sports — he is an outstanding first baseman and hitter and helped the Vikings to the 2013 State Summer Baseball Championship. The first time he played on a competitive golf team, though, was high school.
"Since he was a freshman, he has been consistent, a good ball striker, but especially consistent," Murdock said. "He has had a big development in his short game, putting stroke. He has worked on keeping low on his chips."
"My freshman year there were all seniors on the team," Knoll recalled. "I was really nervous. It took awhile to get acquainted with the team golf atmosphere. I had only golfed with my dad and his buddies or my friends.
"Our team was really good and I got a lot of experience. (High school) golf is a team sport, but it is also an individual sport. If you do well, you help the team."
Knoll felt he benefited a lot from his first team.
"Oh my gosh, yes. It helped me a lot," he said. "About midway to halfway through my freshman year I really got better. I practiced a lot to try and get better. I worked on the mental game instead of just the physical part. I was a lot more confident as a sophomore."
Helping out the team
Murdock also saw Knoll grow as a leader.
"We have a strong golf tradition here and Andrew was outstanding in that mix," he said, talking about his leadership skills.
"He focused on trying to make it a team sport; it's not just about you. What you do affects the team. Kids look up to him and watch him go about his business. He will go around and work with younger guys. He is very much a positive influence."
Being an outstanding baseball player, Knoll talked about how he doesn't let his golf swing affect his baseball swing and vice versa.
"I've talked to coach (Tom) Farina about the mechanics of a baseball swing and it doesn't affect the mechanics of the golf swing which are similar."
However, Murdock credited Knoll for making it work.
"The reason it works for Andrew is he takes the time to understand the mechanics of both swings and breaks it down," he said. "Not everyone does that."
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