Brown County High School’s boys golf is set up for a promising season.

Coach Brad Baughman has four fewer players this year than last, but he is not worried about that.

“At this point we have 10 out, but it’s a good 10,” he said.

Four are seniors: Gavin Brown, Jake Dixon, Aubrey Seaman and Wesley Weigel. They led the team last year along with then-senior Matt Wright, and they’re motivated to go out on a high note, Baughman said.

“They know that if ever there was a time for us to make something happen, it’s now,” he said.

Only three of last year’s six sophomores are playing this year, and Baughman is somewhat concerned about what next year might look like. But the coach stays committed to working with the players he has.

Coach Brad Baughman (right) talks with his players March 17 before practice, going over a few pointers with the assistance of volunteer coach Ben VanNess.
Coach Brad Baughman (right) talks with his players March 17 before practice, going over a few pointers with the assistance of volunteer coach Ben VanNess.

Freshman Chris Clegg did not know what a green was on the first day of practice, and he’s not the first rookie Baughman has worked with.

“I’ve had a history of always trying to keep freshmen involved, because you never know if somebody will catch on to it,” Baughman said. “Like some of these seniors we have right now: some of them came pretty much brand new to the sport as freshmen.

“Obviously, it would be nice to get people to come with some background, but I can’t really do a whole lot about that,” he said.

Baughman paused to compliment Weigel as the team hit golf balls at the practice range: “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it — keep doing it for the next two-and-a-half months,” he said.

The entire team is fully involved this year, Baughman said. There are no “curiosity seekers” or students looking for an easy extracurricular activity.

“They want to play — they’re playing a lot — and they want to stay after,” he said. “So it’s good — a lot to be excited about.”

Though only two freshmen came out this year, one is Parker VanNess, son of Salt Creek Golf Retreat’s pro, Ben VanNess.

VanNess has years of experience already, unusual for an incoming Brown County player.

“Since we don’t have a junior high program, that makes it kind of difficult,” Baughman said. “We offer camps; we offer all kinds of summer opportunities, but we just can’t seem to get those younger kids tuned in.”

But Baughman is too excited about the season the team is starting to be distracted by not having a feeder program. “Just, all-in-all, I feel good,” he said.

“There’s every reason to be optimistic,” he said. “I’m sure there are going to be some hiccups along the way, but if ever we had a reason to think that we could — right off the bat, I think we’re better than we were last year, and we were competitive last year.”

He talked about being a team to be noticed in events where Brown County hasn’t been much of a contender in the past. “And that’s our hope — that’s not just our hope — that’s going to be our goal and an expectation.”

“We’re off and running and can’t wait to see how it translates,” Baughman said.

Boys golf

Freshmen: Chris Clegg, Parker VanNess

Sophomore: Ben Rygiel

Juniors: Dawson Dunnuck, Jacob Ford, Tyler Poling

Seniors: Gavin Brown, Jake Dixon, Aubrey Seaman, Wesley Weigel

Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.