Golf may be the ultimate individual sport. A quick glance at golf teams across the area will usually reveal a star player or two atop their rosters.
But that’s not the case at North Tonawanda and Lumberjacks coach Paul Becigneul thinks his team’s unity is a result of equality up and down the roster.
“We graduated four seniors last year and those were some big shoes to fill,” he said. “The first few matches were a bit shaky but as (the team has) gotten more comfortable they’ve slowly shown improvement.”
The Jacks (6-6) started out 1-4 on the season and Becigneul braced himself and his team for a tough stretch to close out the year. But something happened after a loss to Niagara-Wheatfield on Sept. 17 — this year’s seniors stepped up to help NT win five of its last seven.
Andrew Walck, Matt Noaks, Chris Jurczak and Alex Behr lead the Jacks by committee. Each golfer brings something different and valuable to a team that has been searching for an identity since it teed off this season.
Walck is the fierce competitor who hates to lose; Noakes is the easy going, ex-football player who can hit the cover off the ball; Jurczak helps everyone find the fun in the game and takes the time to be a good teammate; Behr is the jokester who keeps everyone loose even when someone hits one in the drink.
“Each one of them has their own personality that people gravitate toward,” Becigneul said.
All four seniors play other sports, but have built a home together on the golf course. It’s a place where they feel comfortable despite the stressful moments that come along with the game.
Walck said that one of the most difficult aspects is the mental challenges that exhaust even the most gifted golfer.