Glen Este’s Gillespie, Milford’s Arnold gain invaluable experience at districts

Milford freshman Nathan Arnold, left, and his coach Phil Sheldon, right, talk over their strategy during the district tournament round at Weatherwax Golf Course on Oct. 16.

Milford freshman Nathan Arnold, left, and his coach Phil Sheldon, right, talk over their strategy during the district tournament round at Weatherwax Golf Course on Oct. 16.
By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

Australian golfing legend Bruce Crampton said, “golf is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.” For Glen Este junior Brandon Gillespie and Milford freshman Nathan Arnold, the experience gained at the Division I district tournament at Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown on Oct. 16 will only help them as they go forward in golf.

Gillespie, a relatively short hitter with an impeccable short game, got around the lengthy Woodside and Highlands courses in 8-over par 80, a respectable if not spectacular score.

“Brandon, being a player that doesn’t have much of a long game, basically played some of the best golf that he could have played,” Glen Este head coach Butch Novak said. “He had a total of 27 putts, including 12 putts on the front nine to shoot 39. On the back, I think he just got tired, having to play at 6,750 (yards). He played extremely well and obviously, we’re looking forward to next year.”

Gillespie’s 39-41 rounds were good enough to put him into a tie for 33rd, six strokes out of forcing a playoff for the third and final state individual qualifying spot.

Possessing one of the best short games that Novak has seen in his 15 years of coaching, Gillespie will need to work on his length during the offseason to round out his game and take him to that next level.

“I’m going to see if we can’t put him on a weight program over the summer to see if we can get him to gain some yardage,” Novak said. “He’s a very good individual to coach and an easy individual to coach. His short game is his best asset and to take the next step, he has to gain some yards for these longer golf courses. We’re going to try to stretch his swing out and see if we can add 20 yards to his distance off the tee and with his irons.”

Gillespie has done well with what he has to this point, owning a top-10 nine-hole average in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference and showed that he has the wherewithal to play well under pressure, firing an 80 at Glenview in the sectional to advance to districts.

As for Milford’s Arnold, the freshman has made tremendous strides in his first year under head coach Phil Sheldon. Arnold’s 9-over par 81 at the district was a good building block for the future of the ninth grader.

“He played pretty well,” Sheldon said. “He had two seniors in his group and beat both of them, which was cool, but (the course) did play a little long for him.

“His short game was really good (on Thursday). Nathan knows that he doesn’t hit the ball as far as other kids right now, but he understands that the short game is what’s going to keep him in it.”

Sheldon said that Arnold’s course management skills and his preshot routine are among the best he’s seen this year and that those assets should only help him going forwards as he further develops and gains more length.

Sheldon also hopes that besides being a leader by example that Arnold will step into a more vocal role for the players coming in behind him.

“The experience (Arnold) had playing in the districts as a freshman, you can’t put a price on that,” Sheldon said.

Both Arnold and Gillespie were Second Team All-Eastern Cincinnati Conference selections and have shown the game late in the 2013 season that could elevate them to a nice rivalry over the following season.