The most successful boy golfer in the history of Riverbank High School, senior Casey Floyd, has wrapped up his high school career with a solid showing at the Section tournament.
“He competed individually in the Sections in Marysville at Peach Tree Golf and Country Club on May 5 and shot an 84 on the Par 72 course,” explained RHS golf coach John Heaton. “Medalist low score was a 76 so he was right in the ball park, as an individual he placed eighth overall.”
For Floyd, it marks the fourth straight year he has made sections, advancing to that level all four years of high school. He also took on a mentor role for his teammates this season and works with the First Tee program as well, introducing youngsters to the sport.
“He has been really helpful in motivating students that would normally give up,” Heaton said, noting that Floyd has a way of making sure the golfers stick with it, and take pride in improving their game.
“He has been the most successful boy golfer that we have had in Riverbank and one of the best golfers, only outdone by his sister Courtney,” added Heaton.
The Bruin team started out with enough golfers to field a full squad but lost some players to grades and ended up competing strictly for end of season honors. Floyd focused on that and completed another solid season.
Following is a ‘Q and A’ session between The News and Floyd, looking back at his senior season and highly successful RHS golfing career.
Q: What did you enjoy most about being involved in high school golf?
A: Throughout my high school golf career, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to better myself both as a player and a person. Playing high school golf taught me that you aren’t going to like everybody that you meet, but you have to work together in order to complete something. I also learned that the level of dedication required to be one of the best is nothing short of your entire life. In order to improve and to play at the same level of the best players, you have to put everything you have into this. I completely enjoyed my time as a Bruin and the things it taught me.
What do you like best about the game itself?
The thing I most enjoy about the game of golf is the friendships that are built and the life skills that are learned. I have met some incredible people that I would not have even heard of without the game of golf. Several of those people I am able to call my friend. Also the life skills and the etiquette that go along with the sport are amazing. Golf teaches respect, integrity, and sportsmanship. These are values that aren’t seen as much in other sports, and I am glad that they are seen in this one.
How do you prepare for each match, mentally, physically, etc.?
To prepare for each match I make sure I get a good night sleep and eat well throughout the day of the match. I usually listen to music on the drive to the course to get focused. Once I arrive at the course, I stretch. I will stretch for about five minutes because your muscles need to be loose in order to successfully swing a golf club. I will hit a couple of balls on the range and then hit a couple of putts. Right before I tee off, I stare down the first fairway and get a feel of what I am about to do.
This season was tough for the Bruins, not able to keep a whole team together; how were you able to stay focused in each match when you knew it wouldn't be a 'win or lose' effort?
We did start the season with a full team and I believed that we had a chance to win a couple of matches and actually have a pretty successful season as a team. Unfortunately by the halfway point of the season we were down to just three players. At that point I had to focus on my game and as playing more as an individual. I knew that I could still make sections as an individual, and I just focused on that single goal.
Do you ever get nervous on the course and, if so, how do you overcome that?
Since I play in the first group to tee off during a match, I do get a little nervous on the first tee. It is mainly because I put some pressure on myself to hit a good first shot and the fact that everybody else, including the coaches, is watching. Once I get to my second shot, my nerves have calmed and I then feel fine.
Why would you suggest someone get involved with the sport?
The main reason I believe people should get involved with the sport is the atmosphere they enter. Golf is the most relaxing sport. It is a sport where you can meet some incredible people, that you would never have met without golf, and play a fun round of golf for a couple of hours. When you play golf, you enter an atmosphere that you don’t find with other sports, and golf is the only sport you can play from the time you can walk until the day you die.
Floyd is also very involved in The First Tee program, both as a participant and as a volunteer coach/mentor to local area youth. He has been involved in The First Tee for about 10 years and is currently working toward achieving the top participant certification available to First Tee participants, the Ace level.