First-year Lutheran High Northeast boys golf coach Nate Benter is planning on using his players’ scores as the team’s primary evaluation tool.
Benter, who is originally from Indiana, played competitive golf at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymore, Indiana, then graduated from Purdue University and is currently in a master’s degree program at the University of Colorado.
“I came from a pretty big basketball family, but I decided in high school that I wanted to do something different, so I took up golf,” Benter said. “I had a really great experience and a really good high school coach; I still use him as a resource to this day. A lot of the things that I do (as a coach) are based off things he did.”
“I didn’t play golf in college but actually went back after college and helped him out as an assistant for a couple years, and I ended up coaching the girls golf team for two years,” he said. “He talked to me about taking over the boys team for him, but then I ended up moving out here. My wife is a Lutheran school teacher at St. John in Battle Creek, and I work in finance here in Norfolk.”
Benter said that, coincidentally, Dan Sievert — the current principal at Lutheran High Northeast — was the principal at Trinity when Benter was a student and recommended him to fill the golf coaching position this year for the Eagles.
“They contacted me to see if I was interested, and I love teaching the game,” Benter said. “So I was interested and accepted the job.”
And now, after approximately three weeks of working with his 10 candidates, Benter said he is impressed with the ability that he sees.
“We’ve practiced for a couple weeks now, just hitting the ball and seeing how everything looks,” Benter said. “I think the team’s going to be pretty good this year. That’s based off of initial impressions; overall, I’m pleased with the progress I’ve seen in the first couple weeks.”
The team, Benter said, has “a wide range of kids — five seniors, three freshmen and a couple in between.”
Benter said a couple of the seniors have joined the team for the first time, but those players and the younger less-experienced ones are “picking it up pretty quick.”
“I’ve got a couple kids that I think will be pretty good players, but I’ve got them working on some stuff with their swings right now,” Benter said. “Our big focus is just getting out and playing — seeing the different shots that the golf course offers, and working on consistent swing mechanics to get to the green.”
“I’ve seen every kid working to get better and have noticed places to improve, for sure,” he said. “But I’ve seen a lot of good shots. I have been very impressed with their short games; I’ve said multiple times that when I was in high school, if I had the short game of some of these guys, I probably would have played college golf.”
Lutheran High Northeast boys golf roster
Seniors: Quinn Pape, Ethan Christian, Andrew Glaser, Adam Echtenkamp and Jazper Ames.
Junior: Mason Petersen.
Sophomore: Judah Deichmann.
Freshmen: Savion Ralph, Braden Thoms and Tucker Kirby.