Lifelong golfer translates his talents to the varsity level

Jansen Hess, Sports Editor

Following in his family’s footsteps, freshman Zach Karney has a passion for golf. He received his first set of clubs at age six and has been playing ever since. He said he fell in love with golf the first time he picked up a club.
This year, he is the only freshman on the boys varsity golf team.
Karney said being a part of a country club helps him improve because he has the opportunity to practice individually or get tips from his dad, who, he said, is a very good golfer.
“I belong to Lionsgate Country Club, and I am lucky enough to be able to go there just about every day and practice on whatever I like to without people bothering me,” Karney said.
Karney said golfing is in his blood. His dad is an avid golfer, and some of his dad’s family members played golf in college.
He said he is proud to be playing at the varsity level.
“It feels good to be the only freshman on varsity,” he said. “But it is kind of bad because you’re the youngest, and everyone else already has a better feel for what they’re doing. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but overall, it feels good.”
Throughout tryouts, he said he wasn’t entirely sure he would make varsity, but it didn’t come as a shock to him.
“I was right on the border between JV and varsity, so I didn’t know where I would end up,” Karney said. “On the last day of tryouts, I played well and made it. I was a little surprised, but at the same time I wasn’t because I had confidence in myself.”
Karney said his first high school tournament was nerve-wracking.
“When I got to the first tournament, I was really nervous because I never had that experience like the rest of the team has,” he said. “I think that it will help me for next year in the fact that I’ll have already had the experience so I won’t be as nervous.”
Karney said the team members know how to enjoy themselves while still getting the job done.
“At tournaments, we tend to be the team that’s having the most fun,” he said. “We have a good time golfing as a team. And we always go out to eat afterwards. We’re always there for each other.”
Varsity golf coach Andrew Millikan said Karney is an important asset to the team.
“He’s one of the six lowest scorers, and that’s very unusual for a freshman,” he said. “You can show him something once, and he gets it, but then he takes it and mixes it with his own game.”
Millikan said Karney is an outstanding player with a solid work ethic.
“It’s pretty good from what I’ve seen so far,” Millikan said. “As he gets older, it will continue to develop in all aspects of his life, whether it’s school or golf. I’m really looking forward to the next three years with him.”