Clausen going for gold on the green

Striving for success and positivity in golf comes naturally to junior Ben Clausen as he enters his third season at ACHS.
Clausen going for gold on the green

Golf is often an underestimated sport in today’s society. The mental and physical demand is something that all golfers have to overcome. Junior Ben Clausen has been golfing at Antioch Community High School for three years now. His drive to succeed once he steps onto the green leads him and his team to victory at each match. 

Prior to high school, Clausen had never picked up a golf club or played a full 18 holes. Getting involved in a high school sport is something that many people recommend. It is important to help incoming students find new interests, along with friends and talents for their following four years of school. This advice is something that Clausen took into consideration.

“I came from a smaller school so I didn’t know very many people. I thought it was just a way to meet new people freshman year,” Clausen said. “I like that it’s very self driven so you can get better by yourself.”

When thinking of physically and mentally demanding sports, common first thoughts are sports like football, gymnastics, or soccer. However, many people don’t realize how much strength it takes to be a golfer.

“I’d say it’s more physically demanding than people actually think that it would be just because walking 18 [holes] with a heavy bag on your back for however hot it can be in the summers,” Clausen said. 

Clausen’s impact on his teammates around him does not go unnoticed. His positivity radiates to others and allows the team to put their best foot forward and help each other when necessary. Being a varsity athlete comes with hardships and days where a negative mindset can take over. Despite this, Clausen pushes through and brings light into the dark days.

“Ben always seems to be happy,” head coach Trey Hickey said. “A lot of golfers can be very serious, which can be good and bad. Ben is unique because he just always seems like he’s in a good mood, no matter whether he’s playing well or he’s playing poorly, which I appreciate. Because when people are grumpy it makes everybody around them grumpy.”

Alongside being the head choir director and the fine arts department chair, Trey Hickey is the head boys golf coach. Hickey’s passion for golf began when he was just eight years old and he has been sharing his interest and skills for nine years at ACHS. Over the past few years, Hickey has analyzed the immense improvement that Clausen has made since his first year. Clausen’s dedication and improvement have earned him a spot on the varsity level.

“The number one characteristic for a good golfer is the ability to not let mistakes affect the next shot,” Hickey said. “You have to have a short memory and I would say that Ben is very good at not getting down on himself if things aren’t going well; and that is a very good quality to have.”

Clausen creates an atmosphere that brings teammates together and leaves everyone feeling involved and excited to be at practice or a match. Being a favorable person on and off the course is truly what holds the ACHS team together.

Similar to Clausen, Rylan Frazer is a junior at ACHS and is also aiming for success in his third season. Frazer also notices Clausen’s ability to take corrections and spread positivity throughout the team. 

“He’s always like the backbone of everything,” Frazer said. “He’s always there to help and make everything better. He’s just positive; he never brings people down.”

As the seniors on the golf team prepare to leave their final mark, Clausen is given one final opportunity to learn from the upperclassmen before he reaches his senior year. One major asset to the team is senior Tyler Stackhouse. Stackhouse has been golfing for just over two and a half years and has already done great things with his athleticism and passion for the sport. 

Stackhouse explains that he has high hopes for the team after he graduates because of the hardworking juniors such as Frazer and Clausen. As a senior, one of Stackhouse’s main roles is ensuring that he provides a leading example for the underclassmen. By doing so, it sets the bar for future programs. 

“I think he’ll only continue to grow honestly,” Stackhouse said. “With [the] other teammates’ help, he’ll become one of the better players Antioch has seen. On top of that, he’ll be good at teaching the underclassman the correct ways to golf.”

Hickey explains that Clausen is already very helpful to the younger players on the team. Clausen knows when to lock in and focus in order to learn from the examples of the seniors. Putting in additional work outside of required practices is what helps an athlete improve their skills as well as their drive toward success. Clausen golfs about twice a weekend and every day during the summer. Similarly, Clausen has learned the importance of balance between athletics as well as school. 

“I’ve learned that you need to take any free time that you have available and work on your classes and other schoolwork,” Clausen said. 

In the blink of an eye, Clausen will soon be a senior and have one final chance to leave a legacy on the ACHS golf team. Until then, he will continue to strive for excellence and help lead the team to victory at each match. Clausen has been a prime example of determination and mental strength as an athlete. Despite being newer to the sport, he has taken chances to improve on his own for the greater good of those around him. With this attitude and drive, Clausen has the ability to do great things not only for the ACHS golf team but also beyond high school.

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About the Contributor
Laila Salata
Laila Salata, Tom Tom Staff
Laila Salata is a senior and this is her second year on staff. Salata plays field hockey and does cheerleading for ACHS. In her free time, Salata enjoys taking pictures, spending too much money on Starbucks, and being with friends and family. Bonus fact, she is also Miss Antioch 2023.  

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