CGHS Golf Team Seeks Second Straight Championship Under Coach Matt Rodman
Writer: Seth Johnson
Photographer: Erin Feldmeyer
For Center Grove High School boys golf coach Matt Rodman, golf has always just been a part of life.
“I have played golf since the age of 3 or 4,” Rodman says. “I’ve been around it for quite a while. I played middle school golf in Seymour. I played high school golf on the Seymour High School golf team. It’s kind of in my blood.”
With their season already in full swing, the Center Grove High School boys golf team has high expectations this year. Ranked No. 1 in the preseason state coaches poll, the Trojans claimed their first-ever state golf title in 2017 under the tutelage of Rodman. With much of last year’s core returning for 2018, the sky seems to be the limit for this season.
“Last year’s season was a wonderful way to start my first year,” Rodman says. “I stepped into a team of very talented and accomplished golfers. I attribute the success that we had last year to the work ethic and competition amongst our team. Not only were the top five kids really quality golfers, but we went 10 to 12 guys deep. So we were getting competition on a day-in and day-out basis during practice, which made us better every single day of the week and allowed us to get over the hump and win it all last year.”
In addition to his early start in golf, Rodman also grew up the son of a golf coach, making his work with Center Grove High School a full-circle experience.
“My dad was a high school golf coach down in Florida when we lived down there,” Rodman says. “He also was the Seymour High School golf coach for quite a while as well. So it’s kind of something where I’m just following in his footsteps a little bit.”
A graduate of Ball State University, Rodman also teaches sixth-grade math at Center Grove Middle School Central.
When it comes to his approach as a coach, Rodman is fully aware that many of his players receive help with their game outside of regular team practices. With this in mind, he works with them on the mental side of golf.
“Golf is somewhat of a different sport,” Rodman says. “A lot of the things we focus on in practice are a lot of the mental parts of the game: staying focused, planning for your shot, preparing for your shot and making sure you know what the conditions are doing.”
When it does come to the fundamentals, Rodman has his own unique approach to coaching too. “For the golf portion of it, I focus a lot of my efforts on the short game portion of things with the kids,” he says. “As a golfer myself, the tee-to-fairway is a struggle, but I can make up lots of strokes within 100 yards, and that’s what I tend to try and get the kids to work on the most — stuff around the green, short-game stuff, putting stuff and all of those concepts of the game.”
After the season is over and kids are out on their own, Rodman has several things that he hopes his players take away.
“I hope they take away the always-being-positive attitude,” he says. “I have kids that are so good that they oftentimes tend to get down on themselves very quickly because they have very high expectations of themselves. So I just want to make them aware that everyone hits something bad. It’s how you recover from that situation that shows who you are.”
He also hopes to equip his graduating seniors with important life skills as well.
“I like to give them leadership qualities to help them to not only be leaders on the golf course but leaders outside of school,” he says.
As for the season at hand, Rodman has goals for both himself and the team.
“First from an individual basis, [I want] to help every athlete to improve their personal golf game, to be better than they were last year,” he says. “Our team goal is to win the 2018 state championship. We have everybody but one kid from our last year’s starting five returning. We have the talent and the ability to go out and win it all this year.”
Stay up to date with the Center Grove High School boys golf team via the Center Grove High School Athletics page at centergrove.k12.in.us/domain/145.