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Sophomore improves through older role models

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Blake Deffenbacher believes it takes critical thinking and accurate precision to succeed in golf.

Along with balancing photography, videography and church activities, sophomore Blake Deffenbacher takes on golf as one of his daily hobbies. This being his second year on the team, he hopes to improve and become a great example for his teammates.

Deffenbacher started golf at a young age, following in his father’s footsteps. He took his first lessons at six years old, under the influence of his parents. At the time his family lived in Oregon, so they sent him to a golf course near their home to practice.

Deffenbacher eventually moved to Fresno and attended Fresno Christian in sixth grade. After kindergarten, he had given up on the sport and was forced into golf his freshman year. But after months of practice and learning new skills, he joined by his own influence sophomore year.

“Everybody thinks that golf is a really easy sport and I was under the same mindset until I went out and tried to play,” Deffenbacher said. “It ended up being a lot harder than I thought it would be. My first impression was I don’t know if I can really do this. But I ended up really liking it and I ended up being pretty good at it.”

One thing I’ve learned from golf is that it’s going to test your patience. Golf is a sport that you can practice every day and you still might have a really bad round. But it really doesn’t matter how bad or good you do, your next round could be completely different so it’s really inconsistent but there’s something about that that I really like. — Blake Deffenbacher

Blake gains new skills every day from the man who taught him the game, Brent Deffenbacher. Blake’s father coaches the high school golf team and has noticed his son improved in many ways over the years. He often reminds Blake that golf is just a game, but how he chooses to respond to his setbacks and adversity during the match will prepare him for life.

“Being Blake’s father and coach is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities in life,” Brent said. “I’ve seen Blake make huge strides this year from being a timid, inconsistent golfer to a confident, consistent golfer in every aspect of the game. Blake has the power to choose how he will respond and it is ultimately a reflection of who he is as a person.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Brent Deffenbacher is just one of Blake’s role models in golf and in life.

One of the advantages of playing golf comes in the form of new friendships. The people that Deffenbacher has come in contact with push him to be better and strive for great things. Last year he played alongside Michael Cliff, who currently golfs for Fresno State. At times Cliff felt like more of a coach than a teammate because of his greater understanding of the sport, which still motivates Deffenbacher today.

Another friendship made through the sport was with sophomore Charles Gong. Gong admires the positive influence Deffenbacher has on both himself and the rest of his team.

“I’ve played golf with Blake for two years now and I’ve seen him drastically improved to be one of the best players I know,” Gong said. “He is a very good influence and is very helpful with swing tips and other tidbits. He is very fun to be around and has great energy on the team.”

Ever since principal Amy Deffenbacher watched her son play golf at a young age, she knew he possessed potential. She admires the way Blake has grown in his abilities and his character over the years, and she agrees that golf has definitely contributed to those aspects.

“He has grown in confidence, for sure,” Amy said. “Last year he played golf because we made him, and this year he’s playing because he wanted to, so that’s been fun to watch that change. He pushes himself to be better every day and that’s just amazing to watch.”

Golf has greatly improved Blake Deffenbacher’s skills and taught him many valuable lessons. The sport pushes him to play better every day and most importantly tests his patience.

But golf also challenges Deffenbacher, not just playing the sport, but the way he thinks and perceives things. Although the game requires detailed thinking and accurate precision, Deffenbacher tries to stay positive in all situations.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Blake Deffenbacher started playing golf in Oregon and eventually played in high school at Fresno Christian.

“One thing I’ve learned from golf is that it’s going to test your patience,” Deffenbacher said. “Golf is a sport that you can practice every day and you still might have a really bad round. But it really doesn’t matter how bad or good you do, your next round could be completely different so it’s really inconsistent but there’s something about that that I really like.

“I’ve heard it said before that the biggest challenge in golf is between your ears and your brain. If you get into your own head when you’re playing golf you start to play worse and worse. Even if you’re having the worst round of your life if you see it positively you’ll start getting better. So the biggest challenge for me is trying to stay positive even on the worst holes.”

Recently, the FC golf team placed first in their league, and Deffenbacher finished second in the league as an individual. Deffenbacher wishes to continue golfing in high school and keep improving each day.

For more articles on golf, read BREAKING: Golf team begins season, pursues success. For more articles, read RECAP: Music department displays talent at annual spring concert.

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