Golfer’s demeanor sets him apart

Frenship golfer Jack Vanderburg knows he is going to hit a bad shot from time to time.

Every player remembers when they’ve done something embarrassing after a bad slice, Vanderburg said. The soon-to-be senior is guilty of throwing his clubs from time to time.

But tossing his putter to the green after a missed putt hasn’t happened for a while, and his coaches say its Vanderburg’s temperament on the course that sets him apart.

“I’ve always said he has the perfect golf temperament,” said Frenship coach Roger Reding, who has coached Vanderburg for three years. “The highs aren’t too high, the lows aren’t too low. Even though he’s grinding inside, he handles the disappointment with class and he handles the highs with class.”

The highs are also coming much more frequently than the lows, as Vanderburg is in top form this summer.

He’ll get to show his talent later this month, as he prepares for the USGA Junior Amateur Championship tournament July 16-21 in Stratham, N.H, against 155 other golfers.

The Northeastern tournament will showcase the best junior talent in the nation, having been won by Tiger Woods three times in his career.

“I don’t know what to expect,” said Vanderburg. “I know it’s going to be a huge tournament. It’s going to be the strongest field that I’ve ever been a part of. I know that there will be tons of great players there.”

Vanderburg doesn’t talk about his recent run of good form — the three-time state qualifier made the championship by shooting a two-day 148 in Lewisville earlier this year.

He knows how well he’s playing, but it isn’t in his nature to boast about it.

His coaches can do that for him.

“It’s hard to explain how talented this kid is at his age,” Reding said. “It is hard to explain to the normal sports fan. He’s heads above the average golfer. He’s really gifted, and it’s hard to explain that to the average sports fan.”

Vanderburg also meets with swing coach Jesse Blackwelder once a week, something he has done for the last five years.

Blackwelder has been coaching golfers for the last quarter century, from the junior level all the way to the PGA Tour.

“For one thing he can focus and he can concentrate, but when we work on those fundamentals he really pays attention and that’s what makes him a good player,” Blackwelder said.

Vanderburg also has the imagination to see shots other golfers his age can’t, Blackwelder said.

The 17-year-old says his biggest strength is with his driver, but his coaches say it’s his short game and chipping. Really, though, it’s all of the above.

“He’s a very calm individual, and he’s athletic, too,” Blackwelder said. “He used to play quarterback and of course when he’s playing golf he has the athletic ability to be able to incorporate the fundamentals.”

Although Vanderburg is confident with his golf game, he knows the tournament will be a learning experience for him — no matter how he does.

“You always learn something from a tournament, no matter if you play good or you play bad,” he said. “You always got to improve on the things that happened at the tournament that you didn’t do well, and try to improve on those things. And the things that you did well, you got to remember those things.”

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