High hopes for Sussex Academy golf team for 2022
Fresh off an individual state championship in 2021, a third-place team finish and winning the 2021 Henlopen Conference tournament, the Sussex Academy golf team could create an even better performance record in 2022.
The Seahawks’ best three golfers return for this season, joined by an energetic, but young contingent of new players.
Sara Lydic, the 2021 individual state champion, will play with her sister Hannah, the only senior on the team. Hannah will play for the University of Richmond women’s golf team this fall. Sawyer Brockstedt is the third member of this low-scoring trio. She has been successful in national competition since finishing eighth in the state tournament as an eighth-grader.
Doug Grove is the new head coach, assisted by Matt Piperno. Grove is a part-time psychology teacher at the school. He retired after a 32-year teaching career in Arlington, Va., including many years as a baseball and golf coach for Washington-Lee High.
Grove, a Rehoboth-area resident, took over the reins about a month before practice started Feb. 28. In discussing his team leaders, Grove said, “It's been a pleasure to watch their approach to practice sessions and to talk to each of them about their individual and team goals.
“Our top three golfers give us an outstanding chance to post a low team total. Last year, Sussex Academy went 15-1 and as a team, averaged 37.5 strokes per nine holes. This year, our goals are to match, if not exceed, what we accomplished last year,” he said.
Grove added, “I appreciate Hannah taking leadership of the team. She’s been very helpful with the other players.”
David Wanalista joins Sara Lydic as the only 10th-graders on the team. The other golfers are ninth-graders, including Dominic Piperno, McKenna Danahy, Tyler Healy, Grant Barrows, Austin Dostal and Keenan Williams.
Grove said, “I'm very interested to see who will emerge from the rest of the team to take the fourth, fifth and sixth positions. We are aware that there are some very competitive matches on our schedule and look forward to competing at the local and state levels this year.”
Massey takes GM position at Heritage Shores
Congratulations to Brooks Massey for his recent promotion to general manager at Heritage Shores Golf Club in Bridgeville.
The Laurel native and Class A PGA professional has been with the club since 2006, starting as an assistant golf professional. The Wesley College graduate became the head pro in 2011 and was promoted to director of golf at the popular course in 2016. Massey became assistant general manager in 2021, leading to his most recent step up in the Troon management company overseeing the club’s operations.
“Brooks is an energetic and enthusiastic manager who builds service-focused teams,” said Justin Smith, Troon’s regional director of operations. “His knowledge and relationships with the residents, members and clients at Heritage Shores made him a natural fit for the general manager position.”
Golf training aids of all kinds were a large presence at the 2022 PGA Show in Orlando, Fla. I think the number of companies in this category showing their wares was more than at previous shows.
I also believe these companies have helped improve our understanding of how best to address the game’s physical challenges.
I met Jon Levy, a former college golf coach and currently the managing director of Golf Forever. Back specialist Dr. Jeremy James founded the Colorado-based fitness company with help from British Open winner and Ryder Cup star Justin Leonard.
The company offers a personalized online fitness program, with subscription options set at $25 per month or $200 per year. Levy said they offer a free seven-day trial, and about 90 percent of those convert into full subscribers.
He also said they have 7,000 active members, a good number considering the company opened for business in 2019. The company also manages programs for several organizations, including golf academies.
“The body is the 15th club in your bag,” Levy said. “We offer a low barrier to entry. You fill out a short self-assessment, and we use that to determine the workout routine that works for you.”
I tested one of their specialized pieces of training equipment, the Swing Trainer. This is a 44.5-inch shaft with two rubber grip ends. Set at a D3 swing weight, the device comes with two different-weighted balls that fit into a grip end for overload speed training.
A latex training cord covered by a nylon safety sleeve can attach to a grip end by a carabiner attachment. The other end of the band is typically braced to a door anchor but can also be firmly attached to a golf cart roof brace or similar object. The resistance band is set at 15 pounds. Altering your hands’ location on the shaft grips affects the actual resistance in motion. The device sells for $199.
“You can work on strength one day and mobility the next,” Levy said.