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Hagerty gets into the swing of things with Wall golf

April 26, 2012
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WALL TOWNSHIP — Wall freshman Brian Hagerty admits to remembering only a handful of times when he had picked up a set of golf clubs prior to September 2011.

“There were not many,” he said.

It is that very lack of experience that makes the freshman’s path onto the Crimson Knights varsity golf team so interesting.

THE BEGINNING

It is summer of last year and Hagerty takes notice that his father, Richard, and brother, Brendan, 9, are more often than not heading to Jumping Brook Golf Course in Neptune Township to get in some rounds of golf.

“My brother and my dad started to pick up the game seriously around August,” Hagerty said. “They started playing around three times a week. I never really saw them a lot. I started thinking that if they are going to play, I might as well play, too.”

So Hagerty did just that, joining his father and brother on their trips to Jumping Brook. He was instantly hooked on the game.

“I loved it,” he said.

Hagerty’s passion for golf only continued to grow throughout the fall. It was that newfound love that pushed him to go out for the Wall High School golf team this spring.

“I figured I’d go out for the team because I don’t play any other sports,” he recalled.

GETTING STARTED WITH KNIGHTS

As the 2012 season got underway, Hagerty began to improve his game working with Wall golf head coach Matt Stefansky.

“He has given me some great advice,” Hagerty said of Stefansky. “He is really smart and a great golfer. He really knows the game and he has helped me a lot with my own.”

Along with working with Stefansky and the Crimson Knights, Hagerty also kept regular tee-times with the people who got him intrigued with golf in the first place.

“I went out to Jumping Brook with my dad and brother all the time to work on my game” he said. “We’d get out there at around 4 o’clock and we would play nine, ten, sometimes 18 holes with each other. I just tried to focus on the skills.”

Seeing the steady improvement from his new freshman, who could be seen practicing at Jumping Brook while the Crimson Knights varsity team competed in regular-season action just a few holes away, Stefansky decided to pencil Hagerty into the starting lineup for a few matches.

“Every day we had a match at Jumping Brook that he wasn’t participating in, he was present playing golf with his dad and his brother,” Stefansky said of Hagerty. “They were even out there playing when the matches were over and it was dusk. I like seeing that out of a kid — someone who really wants it. Just for that hard work he deserved a shot.”

CRACKING THE LINEUP

Hagerty was floored when he saw that his two starts would be against two of the top 10 teams in the state of New Jersey: St. Joseph of Metuchen and Rumson-Fair Haven.

“When I saw that I was playing against St. Joseph and Rumson I was thrilled,” Hagerty said. “I wanted to play well and help the team get a win.”

In stunning fashion, Hagerty and Wall would go on to beat both St. Joseph and Rumson-Fair Haven, instantly making the Crimson Knights one of the hottest teams in the area nearing the midway point of the season.

Although Hagerty did not lead Wall to victory in the matches — those scorecards were handed in by juniors Tom Ganning and Connor Birch, respectively — he was able to gain some extra motivation by witnessing some of the top individual players in the Garden State compete in live action.

“It was great — I got to watch some of the best players in the state play,” Hagerty said. “On my team, Connor Birch, Tom Ganning and Austin Binder — they are all great players — played great. It was cool to be with them out there.”

DETERMINED TO SUCCEED

Hagerty is not sure if he will ever reach the level of one of the top talents in the state, but he does know two things. He has plenty of time to practice and two very loyal partners that are willing to help him achieve his goals.

“I’m thrilled to be working on my game still at Jumping Brook with my dad and my brother,” he said. “I’d like to one day help coach Stefansky and the team win a state championship.”

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