At Perche Creek Golf Club, a par-3 course in Columbia, Missouri, each inexperienced appeared to Ross Steelman to be roughly 10 toes vast and 10 toes deep. Play a place like that again and again, and also you are likely to develop a laser precision on strategy photographs.
“I played the par 3 millions and millions of times a day,” Steelman mentioned. “That’s kind of where I got started playing golf.”
In Atlanta, Druid Hills Golf Course – a hilly little gem tucked into a downtown neighborhood – is what Steelman calls a driver-wedge sort of place. He’s still attempting to resolve if he would describe the historic structure as short or not. Mostly he’s simply having fun with it as a enjoyable observe.
“Lot of getable par 4s and par 5s are good to score on as well,” he mentioned. “Par 3s, you just kind of have to muster up some courage and hit some good shots.”
Leaderboard: Dogwood Invitational
The Missouri child dealt with it properly on Wednesday within the opening spherical of the Dogwood Invitational, the unofficial opener to the summer season beginner golf season. Steelman’s bogey-free 62 included two eagles and rocketed him to the highest of the leaderboard by 4 photographs.
Steelman’s eagles got here at Nos. 7 and 9, the 2 par 5s on the entrance facet. He hit 5-iron into each greens and made a putt of roughly 30 toes to jumpstart his day. Shockingly, his 62 is still five photographs short of the Druid Hills course record after Alex Ross posted a 57 on the 2019 Dogwood.
Asked if he was conscious of the record, Steelman responded that it’s widespread information this week.
Still, a caddie for an additional participant within the group requested Steelman on the 18th tee if he may get the course record with a 2 on that closing par 5.
“If I make a 2 and shoot 13 (under),” Steelman replied, “I’ll be two off the course record. We all got a pretty good laugh at that.”
Ross Steelman (Photo submitted)
This week marks Steelman’s debut on the Dogwood. Later this month, he’ll compete within the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island. Both are key occasions on the summer season beginner circuit. Steelman is having fun with the chance after spending earlier summers out with damage. He broke his left wrist earlier than his senior yr of highschool when he hit down on a tree root that was hidden underground.
When he graduated early from Rockbridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, and began at Mizzou in January of 2019, he reaggravated the damage. In some methods, the COVID break was a blessing as a result of it allowed him time to truly heal.
After two years on the Missouri roster (together with a redshirt yr), Steelman has transferred to Georgia Tech for subsequent season. He’ll head again to Atlanta, his new house metropolis, to start summer season lessons in late June.
“I’m fired up,” Steelman mentioned of the transfer. “I’m really excited to be able to join such a great program. Coach (Bruce) Heppler is the best in the business and everybody on the team that I’ve met here are really great guys and we’ve all got very similar goals in mind as a team and individually.”
A transfer south affords the Midwesterner extra alternatives to develop his sport within the winter months, too.
Most just lately, Steelman narrowly missed advancing as a person to the NCAA Championship. His Missouri group was on the bubble for an NCAA Regional choose, however Steelman was chosen for the postseason as a person. Oddly, two different people superior out of the Noblesville (Indiana) Regional forward of him, so regardless that he was third individually, he was one spot short. That situation nearly by no means occurs.
Missouri spent the season competing primarily throughout the SEC Conference and Steelman thinks he benefited from a loaded schedule even when the season didn’t fairly finish as he’d hoped.
“For confidence, it’s huge,” he mentioned. At No. 156 within the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Steelman is ranked as excessive as he’s ever been.
Outside of the wrist damage, Steelman has felt his placing has held him again just lately. Back house in Columbia, he buckled down on short sport with his longtime coach Jake Poe. Poe has recognized this stage and past having competed at Stanford with Tiger Woods as a walk-on in 1994, and even rooming with the golf legend.
“He went into the coaching and business world and left the golf for Tiger and he’s been great to work with,” he mentioned. “I’ve worked with him my entire life. He’s the first swing coach and the only swing coach I’ve ever had.”
The good voice, it appears, as Steelman eyes the following stage.