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Banks coaches teach golfers to love the game

Banks golf coach Jim Smith looks at his job differently than many prep coaches.

Sure, Smith wants his golfers to succeed. But it is far more important to him that his athletes learn about what a great game golf can be.

'I'm really a believer that golf is a lifetime game that they can play with business interests or with family or friends for the rest of their lives and form relationships,' Smith says. 'We're trying to teach these golfers about the honesty, integrity and class of the game of golf.'

The Banks golf program is not supported by the school district, but teaching young golfers about the game means enough to Smith that he was willing to be a volunteer coach. Smith, who is also Banks' athletic director, will be helped out by Nick Rizzo, who coaches the Banks girls basketball team, and Jacob Pence, who helps coach the Banks wrestling team.

'The three of us are kind of sharing the duties,' Smith says. 'I'm just kind of taking the lead duties on the paper side because that's what I do as the AD anyway.'

The Banks golf teams are low on numbers this season. The boys only have 14 golfers out for the team and sophomore Desire Forcier will be Banks' only female golfer.

'She's just coming out to work on her game to get better,' Smith says of Forcier. 'We're really excited that that's what she wants to do.'

The boys will be led by senior Justin Miller, who Smith says could make a habit of shooting in the 70s.

'He's got a beautiful swing,' Smith says. 'I would anticipate that he's going to have a solid year.'

The Banks boys have four or five golfers whose experience on the course is very limited. But, with Miller leading the way, if the rest of the golfers can work on their short game, Smith says that the team could come together.

'If I can convince them to work on their short games and chip and putt a little bit, we'll see where we are,' Smith says. 'Right now the goal would be to have five players who can shoot two days in a tournament under 90, have one player in the 70s, and see how close I can get those other kids to under 85.

'I can probably do that, but kids are going to have to really focus on their short game. We've got that kind of capability.'

No matter how good a golfer gets, the game will always be challenging. That can be what makes it so much fun, though. Smith hopes that his golfers embrace that and continue stepping onto the golf course as long as possible.

'I'm hoping that these kids understand how hard the game is,' Smith says. 'I want them to keep a positive perspective and that 20 years from now, or 30 years from now, they're still playing the game of golf.'



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