QUCHEE – Golfers want their shots to be straight and accurate, but Zach Temple’s run in the sport seems to have improved markedly.
Temple, a 27-year-old assistant golf professional at Quechee Club who played for Hartford High and Castleton University, will become a personal sport-specific fitness trainer and Titleist Performance Institute-certified instructor later this year.
Temple discovered a love for this aspect of the game in March, when he designed two six-week golf fitness courses. He and the club’s management were surprised at how quickly they filled up. TPI bills itself as “the largest collection of golf, fitness and swing advice on the internet” and “the world’s leading educational organization dedicated to the study of how the human body works in relation to the golf swing.”
The organization’s website says there are 19,000 TPI instructors in 63 countries, but Temple said he was the only one he knows within 75 miles. He said the career change would give him more balanced work hours throughout the year, instead of facing what’s known as the ‘100-day war’ every year, when golfers flood pitches and strain club resources in June, July and August.
“You spend more time with your coworkers than your family during this time, but that’s the nature of the beast and what you sign up for,” said Temple, who started working in golf in high school. , helping out on a driving range and running bags at the Hanover Country Club. “It’s good to be around the golf course, but you can find yourself working 15 or 16 hours a day. It’s a lot.”
Temple has only played three personal 18-hole rounds this summer. The move to the fitness side of golf will hopefully allow him to compete in tournaments again. He has asked to regain his amateur status, which he says will happen at the end of this year.
At that time, Temple’s offerings should be fully available to Quechee Club’s 1,500 members and their children. He also hopes to institute junior-level fitness classes and has access not only to the club’s gymnasium and weight room, but also to a number of other open spaces that can be used for classes.
“COVID brought people back to golf because it was a perfect outdoor exercise for this situation,” Temple said. “But we also looked at member surveys, and the fitness department is the most heavily used at the club all year round. Golf courses here are only available for seven months.
After two years coaching the golf team at Hanover High, Temple resigned from that role earlier this year when he was given additional managerial duties at the Quechee Club, but before realizing his passion for teaching strength, conditioning and physical fitness. The Bears have won 20 NHIAA state titles and finished second five times, but have finished ninth in Division I each of the past two seasons.
Patrick Pelletier, a 2006 Lebanon graduate and regionally renowned amateur golfer, was hired to take charge of the Hannover program. Athletic director Megan Sobel said he had declined in his four years on the job.
“Fewer kids are playing,” said Sobel, who, along with Temple, believes the closing of the Hanover Country Club is the main cause. “When I came here we had numbers in the 20s, and now we’re lucky to have 10 on the list.”
Temple said he may well return to coaching once his new venture comes to an end. However, at the local high school level, the sport’s long rounds and bus rides make training a difficult adjustment with the 9-to-5 job.
Another difficult piece of the puzzle for Hannover is finding a home course. The demise of Hanover Country’s Club and the employment of Temple’s Quechee Club meant that the latter’s management was willing for the Bears to use its territory. However, as traffic on the courses has increased over the past two years, this position has changed.
Temple explained that Hartford High and Mid Vermont Christian School was already using the Quechee Club before Hanover arrived, and club management decided the compression was just too much. Sobel said Hanover will try to use a patchwork of time at local courses, including Lake Morey Country Club and Montcalm Golf Club to practice and host home games.
Temple, whose club employs three Hanover players in the sack room and on the driving range, will support the Bears, even if his life choice takes him in a different direction.
“I love coaching kids, but I follow my heart,” he said. “Maybe I can do both down the road.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at [email protected]