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Alex Kirtland plays both ice hockey and golf for the Indians. As a member of the golf team, the junior captain has garnered medalist honors on multiple occasions this spring. (Photo courtesy of Daria Cummings )
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Alex Kirtland has been a regular on both the ice and the golf course since a very young age. Alex grew up in Michigan, where hockey was everywhere, although he’d get out on the links when his family visited his grandparents’ home in Florida. Alex continued to play both sports through the years and is now a member of the boys’ ice hockey team and the golf squad at North Haven High School.
Alex, a junior, says that he enjoys the balance between the fast-paced nature of hockey and the more relaxed atmosphere of golf. As a captain for the golf team, Alex emphasizes the importance of staying balanced on the course to his teammates.
“Before each match we try to give a little pep talk to the team to stay focused,” says Alex. “We tell them to never worry about their last shot, just always look ahead to the next one. Things like that.”
Alex has earned medalist honors as the low scorer of a match several times for North Haven this spring. Alex posted a personal-best score of 41 and was medalist when the Indians defeated Law at Orange Hills Country Club. He then lowered his total to a 38 in a tri-match sweep at Alling Memorial Golf Club, followed by another round of 38 during a sweep at North Haven’s home course of Wallingford Country Club, garnering medalist distinction in both contests.
Indians’ Head Coach Daria Cummings says that Alex has made some great improvements throughout his tenure with the team, and she’s happy to see him having so much success as a junior this season.
“Alex has some good fundamentals, but his game had gotten a bit messy. He was trying to force shots and was more worried about distance than score,” says Cummings, whose team has a record of 7-4. “Once he committed to playing conservatively and playing higher-percentage shots, his scores dropped dramatically. The last couple of matches Alex’s game has really taken off.”
Alex says that striking the ball with authority is one of his biggest strengths as a golfer. Alex feels most confident when he has an iron in his hand and uses his proficiency with that club to cover some of the weaker areas of his game. Alex attributes a lot of his success to learning how to play with clubs that have a blade, because those are considered the toughest irons to master in the game.
“My first club was a blade, so it was super thin and super hard to hit,” Alex says. “I think that’s how I’m able to be so consistent with my irons. I’m playing the same type of iron now, so that’s how I’m able to hit those so well and so consistent.”
Alex doesn’t stress out too much on the golf course. He shrugs off his bad shots and wants his teammates to do the same when they’re competing, rather than overthinking. Alex’s family recently joined the New Haven Country Club, and so he can now spend even more time working on his swing to help him prepare for his senior season with the Indians.
“When I’m out on the course, I don’t like to think about anything other than the shot I’m going to hit, because I want to try and compete,” says Alex. “Being out on the course, swinging my clubs every day, that’s really helped me with my game.”
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