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Jake Bennett is enjoying a nice senior season for the Hand boys’ golf team, which is having a fine year in its own right. After he graduates from high school, Jake will continue his career at Franklin Pierce University. (Photo courtesy of Jake Bennett )
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After growing up around golf, Jake Bennett decided to try his hand at the sport when he was in middle school. Jake immediately took a liking to the links and then joined the Hand boys’ golf squad as a freshman. Now a senior, Jake is producing plenty of quality rounds for the Tigers, who have established themselves as contenders with their record of 11-2. Following high school, Jake will compete at Division II Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.
“I got into golf around 6th and 7th grade, and realized I could compete,” says Jake. “I’ve played in a lot of outside tournaments, which helped me grow my confidence and be prepared for the season. I also practice a lot every single day. Both of those things have really helped my career. I had nerves when I first started playing, but not as much now.”
Jake doesn’t get too down on himself if he makes a mistake. When things aren’t going his way, Jake relies on the basic elements in order to get his game headed in the right direction.
“Every year, I am hitting the ball farther, which is good and bad, because my misses are a lot bigger. I try to go over every fundamental of the game each season,” Jake says. “If I hit a bad shot, I know I can get over it. I take it shot by shot and hole by hole.”
Jake enjoys the high school setup of match play in which he gets to compete alongside one of his teammates. Jake appreciates the support they give him, and he reciprocates with that same encouragement.
“I like how we get to play with one other guy on the team in each match. It’s great, because you have someone else cheering you on,” says Jake. “I love playing with them, and I make sure [we] don’t think too much about one shot.”
One of Jake’s favorite parts of playing golf is that he gets to tackle some of the more challenging, yet entertaining courses, that the state has to offer. This season, Jake earned medalist honors with a three-under-par 33 when Hand defeated Sheehan at Farms Country Club in Wallingford.
“I like Farms Country Club, because I always strike the ball really well there. The greens are true and reliable,” Jake says. “Clinton Country Club is a very tough course. It’s tight with a lot of trees. I am excited to play Portland Golf Club, because it’s a fun little course.”
Head Coach Jim Holleran says that Jake shows tremendous mental fortitude on the course. Jake displayed that attribute in the Tigers’ victory against Xavier this past week.
“Jake has been consistently one of our best scorers. He shot 38 at Portland, despite opening his round with a triple bogey,” says Holleran. “It is a mark of his maturity and determination on the course that he does not let temporary setbacks keep him down. With Jake bolstering our lineup, Hand has a good chance to have success in the upcoming SCC and State tournaments.”
Jake feels good about the Tigers’ prospects of faring well during the postseason. He believes that Hand’s depth can give the club a leg up in the championship meets.
“The great part about our team is that the No. 1 guy in the lineup isn’t always the match medalist,” Jake says. “This year, we would love to win SCCs and states. I think we can do a good job in both tournaments.”
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