WHITEHALL – It may not always be readily apparent, but there is a competitor inside of Landon Griffin.
The Whitehall senior is as even-keel as they come. It’s not a bad trait for a golfer to possess.
“Well, once you really learn to swing the club, it’s all mental and the short game. It’s a big key in it,” said Griffin, the son of Jim and Bonnie Griffin.
“When you hit a bad shot, it’s hard to move on, but that’s the one big thing is moving on and clearing that from your head.”
This golf season has not gone quite as well as Griffin had hoped, but there is still a lot of golf left to be played. He did play a solid 18-hole round in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament May 3 at Lincoln Golf Club, where he shot 86 to finish in a tie for eighth place individually. He helped Whitehall place runner-up as a team.
This season, Griffin is averaging 43.8 for nine-hole events. His season-low for 18-hole events is 82. Those scores position him as the Vikings’ No. 2 golfer behind sophomore standout Brady Tate.
Last spring, Griffin finished at the top among all West Michigan Conference golfers as he earned medalist honors in the league championship meet.
One of Griffin’s goals this season was to repeat as individual conference champion, a taller order than last year with the WMC having added strong teams such as Manistee and Fremont.
Griffin also is hoping that he and his Whitehall squad can qualify for the Division 2 state championships at The Fortress in Frankenmuth. They’ll compete in the May 31 regional at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club in Big Rapids.
“I would say he’s (competed) above average this year. He hasn’t really quite found his groove yet for sure, but I can kind of see it’s coming,” Whitehall golf coach Bill Borgman said. “The next couple weeks, I think, will be a big difference.”
Borgman knows Griffin’s swing. He was the one who instructed and gave lessons to Griffin at White Lake Golf Club when he was a youngster.
Borgman identifies Griffin’s short game as his primary strength with a secondary strength being shots into the green.
Borgman said that Griffin has been struggling a bit with his driver and trying to find the fairway more consistently. Once he gets that dialed in, Griffin’s game could take off, Borgman said.
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
“He’s one of the quietest kids you’ll meet. He doesn’t get too upset outside; maybe inside he does. But he definitely stays on an even keel all the way through,” said Borgman, who instead of trying to read Griffin’s body language will simply go up and talk to him.
“He’s willing to answer any questions I have and how he’s feeling, that kind of thing. He doesn’t give me a lot of feedback, but I can see it. Since he’s been with me for four years, I have a good idea on his swing and what he’s doing.”
Griffin already knows what he wants to do after high school. Surprisingly, it does not involve golf, although he does plan to continue playing the sport as it’s a family pastime passed down from his father.
Griffin, a 3.1 student, spends part of his school day at the Career Tech Center in Muskegon studying to become an electrician.
“(CTC is) really nice. It sets people up for what they want to do. It’s a pretty good class,” Griffin said. “I never really wanted to do college and be in debt like that, so I thought get a good jumpstart into a good career would be good.
“My dad, he does telephone/communication wires. He used to work at Verizon for a while, so I’m kind of into that wiring stuff. I don’t know, it just clicked. That’s the only thing I could really see me doing.”
Griffin played baseball for a number of years but gave up the sport in eighth grade. He also played basketball for a couple years.
Now, golf is it, although he does enjoy playing drop-in hockey at Lakeshore Sports Centre in Muskegon.
He considers himself “just a chill dude,” who enjoys being out on the water and hanging out at the beach.
Griffin said if he could play a round of golf with anybody, it would be Bryson DeChambeau. When asked if he swings as hard as DeChambeau, Griffin smiled.
“Try to,” he laughed. “Big shooter. He’d seem fun to play with.”
The end of competitive golf is coming for Griffin. Then he’ll transition into the game as a leisure activity.
Whitehall’s graduation day is May 25. He’s ready for the next phase of his life.
“I’m kind of hyped, but at the same time I’m kind of nervous that I’m going to miss it – the freedom, I guess,” he said.
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