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Championship advice: High School golfers need to stay active in the winter

Graham Moody of Mountain View prepared all winter for his state title in the spring

VANCOUVER — The wait has started for the defending state champion golfer from Mountain View.

The wait has started for Graham Moody, for his teammates, and for the rest of Southwest Washington’s high school boys golfers who have qualified for the postseason.

Graham Moody of Mountain View won the Class 3A District 4 title earlier this month. He and the other golfers from the region who qualified for bi-district must wait until spring to compete again in high school tournaments. Photo by Mike Schultz
Graham Moody of Mountain View won the Class 3A District 4 title earlier this month. He and the other golfers from the region who qualified for bi-district must wait until spring to compete again in high school tournaments. Photo by Mike Schultz

After all, the postseason really begins in the spring.

This is not new of course. Golf (and tennis) have had split seasons for years.

What is new is that the top golfers will have to go to bi-district in the spring in order to qualify for state. Oh, and there will be a true team competition at state, with stroke play for full squads. In the past, the top placers at district tournaments would bypass bi-district and go directly to state. And team titles were based on a points system at state.

Those are some big changes for state golf by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

One thing that will not change, at least for golfers from this region, is dealing with the long layoff between the fall regular season and spring tournaments.

Moody knows how to deal with it. Now a sophomore at Mountain View, he finished second at the district tournament in the fall of 2017, then won the state championship in the spring of 2018.

“Looking back, that was definitely the most prepared I’d been for a tournament,” Moody said.

His advice would be to stay sharp. Don’t let the days turn into weeks and then into months without accomplishing goals associated with the game.

“Me and (teammate) Willy (Yeh) were always in the gym, every morning, playing basketball or working out, just trying to stay in shape. That definitely helped. Physically, I was in better shape.”

Graham Moody of Mountain View, shown here at district, says one cannot get better by only sticking to the range during the winter months. Players must get on the course to improve their skills. Photo by Mike Schultz
Graham Moody of Mountain View, shown here at district, says one cannot get better by only sticking to the range during the winter months. Players must get on the course to improve their skills. Photo by Mike Schultz

Mountain View coach Jim Peterson would find chapters in books that he found motivating and would share with his golfers. Moody said he took it upon himself to read more on improving his “mental” game.

Moody also got on the course as much as he could, even in the wet, cold winter months.

“If you are only on the range, you can only get so good,” Moody said. “You have to go out on the course.”

All of his preparation came into play in the final round at state when Moody four-putted a green.

“It could have been, ‘I just blew my chance,’ or I had another opportunity to go out and make some birdies and finish strong,” Moody said.

The next hole, he had a long par putt. He drained it.

From there, it was back to his excellent play. That four-putt was in the past, finishing strong enough to win the championship.

He had accomplished more than a state title. He conquered a school calendar year. A few regions in Washington split up golf seasons between boys and girls because there are not enough courses for both seasons at the same time. So when a fall golfer wins a state title in the spring, it means there was quite a lot of focus for quite a long time.

That is easier, naturally, when one loves the game.

Moody started playing when he was around 6 years old.

“I just got hooked on it. Back then, it was the challenge it poised, to get from beginner to competitive level,” Moody said. “Then it turned into hating the feeling of losing. I wanted to get better every time.”

A few years later, he is the top Class 3A golfer in the WIAA.

Graham Moody of Mountain View said he was in better shape physically and mentally going into state last spring because he had worked so hard over the winter months. Moody won the state title last spring. Now a sophomore, he hopes to do the same thing during the 2018-19 golf season. Photo by Mike Schultz
Graham Moody of Mountain View said he was in better shape physically and mentally going into state last spring because he had worked so hard over the winter months. Moody won the state title last spring. Now a sophomore, he hopes to do the same thing during the 2018-19 golf season. Photo by Mike Schultz

That could bring some pressure, too, but Moody says he is not consumed by having to do this or do that. He knows in golf just about anything can happen. He wants to defend his title, but there are no guarantees.

All he knows for sure is he will be prepared again. He will be focused. That’s his way.

He expects the same from his teammates.

“Everybody has super-high standards,” Moody said. “Our team is good enough. If we play like we’re capable of, we can pretty much beat any team out there.”

For Moody, that would make for a perfect ending to the 2018-19 boys golf season, an individual title to go with a team title.

It might seem like Moody and the Thunder have all the time in the world but spring will be here before too long, and the best golfers in the state will be getting together again.

How they handle November, January and December could have a big effect on how they play in May.

Moody understands completely. After all, he competed last fall, won the “battle” in the winter months, then ruled in the spring.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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