GRAND ISLAND — Aaron Schauger doesn’t say much, but his work ethic speaks for itself.
In less than two years the sophomore has rocketed to the top of the heap on the Grand Island golf team, and his head coach says his constant fine-tuning has everything to do with his success.
“Every day he’s playing or practicing,” Vikings golf coach Craig Warthling said.
The 17-year coach saw his sophomore golfer at River Oaks, the Vikings’ home course, almost every day over the summer, and the extra rounds have clearly paid off. Schauger is now Grand Island’s No. 1 golfer, and it doesn’t look like he’s giving that title up anytime soon.
“He was No. 7 last year and moved right up past some of the guys he was behind last year,” Warthling said. “He moved right up the rung.”
Warthling said he’s played in the top spot for seven out of 10 matches this fall, and he’s handled the role well. His experience over the summer practicing and playing in tournaments helped Schauger’s game grow.
“I prepared for a lot of tournaments and for our season,” Schauger said. “I played a lot over the summer.”
Schauger said he played in almost 30 golf tournaments over the summer on top of his rounds at River Oaks. That’s a lot of high-pressure golf for a sophomore, but he did well, winning at Lancaster Country Club and Ravenwood in July.
Focusing on golf before the high school season started was a big step for his game. Schauger stopped playing baseball over the summer and said he wanted to concentrate on the links during the summer months.
“He still plays hockey,” Warthling said, “but he’s really putting his head into golf and concentrating on it, which is nice.”
Schauger said he can see the improvement in his game after a summer of hard work.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “My putting and my short game have improved.”
His coach noted a growth spurt has given him a bigger drive off the tee, but Schauger addressed an area that needed improvement when working on his short game .
“Last year, he couldn’t sink a two-foot putt,” Warthling said. “This year, I’ve seen him sink some long putts straight in.”
His confidence has improved with all those rounds as well.
“Last year he took a lot of time over the ball and I think it got to his head,” Warthling said. “This year he’s getting to the ball, he plans out his shots, takes a couple practice swings and he’s hitting the ball. He’s got confidence in his swing.”
Despite some stiff competition throughout the Niagara Frontier League, Warthling said he’s confident in his ace heading into the NFL tournament on Tuesday.
“The league is loaded this year,” Warthling said. “There are a lot of good golfers and he’s going against seniors. He’s only a sophomore and he’s done pretty good.”
Warthling said Schauger and fellow Viking golfer Kevin Borowicz practiced together a lot, and despite a disappointing season the future is bright for Grand Island golf.
“Him and Kevin, they were together all summer,” Warthling said. “It looks good for the team for the future.”