#GAPJunior: Day One Notebook
ROYERSFORD, Pa. â€” Spring Ford Country Club had a total of 10 Juniors representing the club Monday in the 103rd Junior Boysâ€™ Championship presented by PURE Insurance, the most of any club in the field.
Leading the way was recent U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier Benjamin Pochet, who carded a 4-under-par 68. Jon Lumley (73), who will be a rising junior at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, Fla. when he moves there next week, and recent Lower Merion High School graduate Alex Golland (74) were the other best scores for Spring Ford.
â€śThe Junior program here at Spring Ford Country Club is awesome,â€ť Lumley, 16, of Royersford, Pa. said. â€śBeing around our friends, many of them good golfers, is why we enjoy the Junior program here.â€ť
The head golf professional at Spring Ford, Rich Steinmetz, has been the driving force of the Junior program. His son Drew, a rising senior at The Hill School, was among the participants in the tournament from the home club.
â€śMy dad helps set up all of the Junior tournaments here and he helps create a competitive atmosphere,â€ť Steinmetz, 17 of Gilbertsville, Pa., said. â€śThe tournaments that he sets up help all of us get better and prepare for the GAP and Philly Junior Tour events. He has been a great role model to me and to all of the Junior golfers here.â€ť
Spring Ford has a group of Juniors who have become close because of their long hours on the course together during the summers.
â€śWe all spend hours out here playing and practicing,â€ť Lumley said. â€śWe get to the course at around 10 a.m. and we are here until dark. We all push each other to get through the practice sessions and have fun matches once we get to the course.â€ť
The clubâ€™s willingness to include a multitude of Junior golfers is a strong reason as to why they have been able to maintain success as one of the better Junior programs in the area. â€śI came here last May and immediately I was around the best junior golfers I had ever played with,â€ť Golland, 18, of Wynnewood, Pa. said. â€śThe people I met were very competitive, a lot better than me and that helped me get better. You always have someone to play with no matter what time you get here.â€ť
Bent Creek boys push each other on and off course
Golf is a game of relationships, whether it is with the trusty 14 clubs in your bag or the golfers you stroll the links with.
This week in the 103rd Junior Boysâ€™ Championship, Lancaster, Pa. natives RJ VanTash, Jacob Macinanti and Will Riva share a special bond on and off the golf course as members of Bent Creek Country Club.
â€śWill and RJ are great guys and they are very good at golf,â€ť Macinanti, 17, a rising senior at Manheim Township High School, said. â€śRJ hits the ball a country mile and Will is good at every aspect of golf. They are awesome to play with and I wouldnâ€™t expect anything but the best out of them on the golf course.â€ť
VanTash and Riva, both 17, have competed together on Lancaster Catholicâ€™s golf team and more recently won a Pennsylvania 2A state championship.
All three of them have become friendly over the years. Riva and Macinanti knew each other when they both used to play out of Conestoga Country Club. Now the bond between the three of them tightens at Spring Ford Country Club in the Junior Boysâ€™ Championship.
â€śIt means a lot to be playing in the Junior Boysâ€™ Championship with Will and Jacob,â€ť VanTash said. â€śWill and I actually drove here together and Jake and I have known each other and been friends since we were 4 years old. We play all of the time and it has been really fun.â€ť
Riva said that the three of them gang up on the range and practice together. He said it is nice to have guys to play with because a lot of country club atmospheres donâ€™t have a lot of Juniors.
â€śIt is vital to have guys playing with you all of the time because it is much more enjoyable than playing alone,â€ť Riva said. â€śIf you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, having a good group of friends to play with can definitely make golf a more enjoyable experience and more beneficial.â€ť
Off the golf course, the guys often find themselves and their competitive juices at Rivaâ€™s pool.
â€śWe play intense games of pool basketball,â€ť Riva said. â€śThere is a lot of contact and no fouls. It is almost like playing on the street. It is a lot of fun doing that with Jake and RJ."
Golf Association of Philadelphia