Golfer of the year for young schoolchildren

Dain Richie excelled in basketball and golf during his New Berlin high school career, but he prefers the latter.

“I think I prefer golf. There is something different about it, ”said Richie. “Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the basketball gym, but I love golf a lot, and I think it’s definitely my number one sport.”

The number one sport is on Richie’s mind as he joins the reigning national golf team at Parkland College in Champaign this fall. The junior college recruited Richie, 18.

“I decided to go over there and try to keep that level of excellence high, and have a good fall and a good spring,” said Richie.

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Richie is the State Journal-Register’s Golfer of the Year for Kids. He played golf for South County which included a combination of players from New Berlin, Franklin and Waverly high schools.

“I had a very good year in the fall. I broke the school record that I had already broken last year, the nine hole average of 33.9, ”said Richie. “I broke the 18 hole record at Greenview, I finished second in sections, third in regional, it was a lot of fun.”

Richie has been able to improve his corner game this year, which has helped him make more birdies and pars whenever he lands within 50 yards of the hole.

“When I’m playing well, my mindset is when can I get my next birdie,” said Richie. “Let’s keep this one close, putt, go up and down, it’s go-go-go.” I think that’s what I have to work on the most when I’m not playing my best, is having that mindset.

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Blake Lucas coached Richie on the New Berlin High School basketball team, and he saw strengths in the youngster on the court that transferred well to the Bonds.

“He sets an example, he’s a calm and humble kid, but he can also be vocal,” Lucas said. “We all know golf is not an easy game, you have to be prepared physically and mentally. Dain has the physical gifts but it’s the mental approach that probably separates him from others.

“Dain is an exceptional young man and he comes from a great family,” said Lucas. “He’s just a hard-working kid, and I think everyone around him knows you need to step up your game.”

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In Richie’s example, other players on the team were looking for him for advice on swing techniques and other fundamentals that team members were looking to improve. Richie has relished his role as the team leader and is delighted that so many young people are taking the golf seriously.

His advice to those who move up through the ranks is to work hard, but be patient.

“It’s a long journey, you won’t get results all at once. I’m still learning that, even today, ”said Richie. “I also tell them to play as many tournaments as possible from a young age. Get into a tournament mindset and try to have a lot of fun.

Contact David Blanchette: [email protected]

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