Zollman to coach Pats golf

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Owen Vinson is expected to be one of Heritage Hills' top two golfers this spring. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

SANTA CLAUS - Adam Zollman is hardly out of his element when it comes to golf.

He lives right by Christmas Lake Golf Course, which he frequents a lot, and if you catch him driving a golf cart around, it's his own personal one that he uses.

But he'll also be doing something different this spring as the Heritage Hills boys golf coach. It's not his first time ever coaching golf, as he previously coached the Greensburg girls junior high team, though he has more experience coaching athletes on the wrestling mat than he does on the golf course.

"In wrestling, where I'm yelling and screaming and we're getting that kind of stuff, here it's laid back," Zollman said. "The intensity part, mentally, you can still see guys grinding and getting in there and really trusting their game."

Zollman takes over the coaching reins from Greg Deller, who coached the team two years ago, and was supposed to be back last year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling spring sports. He's thrust into the position of trying to keep the Heritage Hills golf tradition going, as the Patriots have won 11 straight Pocket Athletic Conference championships, and on top of that, they have to ward off 12 other teams this year, not just eight.

Zollman has no idea what the Pats need to do to make it 12 straight conference titles, but that's the fun part to him.

"Instead of worrying about other teams, instead of getting locked in on where they are, we're just getting better for ourselves right now," he said on Friday. "And I'll pick some brains of some guys that have been around, some coaches that have been around. Some people that have really been supporters out here at the course themselves - I'll ask about some other teams, but right now, I know nothing about the other squads."

The Pats will be top-heavy with their golfers this spring with a pair of highly touted juniors in Ethan Kane and Owen Vinson. Kane earned All-PAC honors as a freshman in 2019, led his team in scoring at sectionals and co-led at regionals. Meanwhile, Vinson was expected to take a big step forward for the Pats in 2020.

As far as which of them will be the team's No. 1 golfer in 2021, it's close. Zollman had the both of them golf together in practice on Friday, and he knows that they challenge each other. Whichever one is the team's No. 1 may just depend on who is hotter at the moment.

"(They're) good friends," Zollman said. "They both work out here at the course during the summer and they play all the time together."

Zollman definitely sees Kane and Vinson as his top two, but he'll have a lot to experiment with this spring. The Pats have 19 golfers in total, and Zollman sees 10-to-11 of them getting an opportunity this season. He couldn't lock in his top five when he spoke to the Herald on Friday, as he touted some of his senior golfers, such as Jacob Smith, Gavin Daunhauer, Logan Hockenberry and Jordan Mitchell.

He anticipates the lineup will be set around the team's conference and sectional matches. Zollman isn't looking for fancy numbers, but he is looking for consistency out of anybody who's looking to make the Heritage Hills lineup. In the short term, Zollman is looking toward March 31 as to what the lineup will entail for the April 3 Springs Valley Invite at the Donald Ross Golf Course. Other teams like Southridge and Forest Park are scheduled to compete there also. So, the Pats will get a look at some of their PAC competition right out of the gate.

"I'm not real concerned right now at the beginning of the year of (if) we're shooting super-low, let's get out there and perform," Zollman said. "Let's see how they perform under a little bit of pressure with teams that they don't know and kids they don't know on a course they don't know. How are they going to do? Well, I think we'll do well."




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