Golf has a special meaning for Josh Heidenry, helping him off the course to be patient and stay focused.
“The way golf works, it demands that you live in the present while you’re playing. If you want to play well, you can’t be thinking about past holes or holes to come. I feel like life is the same way,” Heidenry said.
Heidenry is part of the Chaminade College Preparatory High School squad that finished second in this year’s state tournament. The junior at the school in Creve Coeur tied for third along with teammate Ryan Walsh, both with rounds of 76 and 73.
Chaminade golf coach Jack Wilson is impressed by how Heidenry balances various aspects of his life — golf, schoolwork, campus ministry, mission trips and more. “He has the approach of a seasoned veteran,” Wilson said.
Heidenry played baseball during the summers until a friend and former soccer teammate, Andy Meyers, convinced him to join him for golf. They’d go to Kirkwood Family Golf Center along with Meyers’ brother. Heidenry then played golf a couple years for St. Gerard Majella Parish in the Catholic Youth Apostolate’s CYC Sports program.
At Chaminade, he appreciates getting to know his teammates, especially during the playoffs when they spend a lot of time together. “The bonds you make with those guys, that’s what makes the team aspect so fun,” he said.
He usually carries a rosary in his pocket on the golf course. He doesn’t have a prayer that he recites, but “it’s something that’s always on my mind,” he said. “One thing that just makes sense to me as a form of prayer is trying to get as ‘in the present’ as possible.”
Chaminade helps students to be open and make friendships, with teachers who care about the students’ lives outside of class, Heidenry added. He’s a member of the Marianist LIFE (Living in Faith Experience) Community, a faith-sharing group with once-a-week prayer services or Masses and monthly meetings. “A lot of good people are in this group. I just really enjoy the atmosphere,” Heidenry said.
He took a trip last summer with 11 other Chaminade students to Occidental, Calif., to meet with students from other Marianist LIFE communities. The focus was on “being good Marianist young people in the world,” Heidenry said. “It’s something I really value.”
The concept developed from Father William Joseph Chaminade’s sodalities and his vision for building a community of communities to change the world.
Heidenry also served on the crew for two plays, “Our Town” and “Newsies,” an experience he recommends for the intensity that culminates in a production and the closeness of the crew and actors that develops.
Heidenry is thoughtful in two senses of the word, his golf coach, Wilson, said. “He’s always thinking. You can see the wheels churning. Regardless of what he’s doing, he doesn’t do it without giving it serious thought. But he’s also thoughtful when he’s playing golf, in class, working in campus ministry, whatever it is he’s doing. He’s always asking other people are doing. You never hear him bring attention to himself,” Wilson said.
When Heidenry shot 71 and finished second in sectionals, he didn’t draw attention to it but instead focused on how others were doing, Wilson said.
In speaking of the Marianist LIFE Community and the school plays as well as the importance of a community, Heidenry — true to form — gave credit to the students he’s met through these activities, including Chaminade students Brandon Crawford, Michael Jaegar, Vincent Laury, Logan Miller, Ben Reimler and Danny Sheean, along with Zellie Laury of Nerinx Hall and Annie Struckhoff of Cor Jesu Academy. They’ve played an important role in his formation, he said.
The Chaminade golfers “are easy to work with and easy to root for because they’re such good kids,” said the team’s coach, Jack Wilson.
He stresses the team aspect, especially since they spend their summers as individual golfers. “We preach to them about it, and they love the idea of playing with and for their team and representing their school.”
The golfers need to think and act differently as team members, passing up on riskier approaches for the good of the team, Wilson explained. “When you’re playing for the entire team and so many matches and tournaments are lost by a single stroke, they have to rethink the way they do it, play the safe shot, take their medicine and move on to the next hole.”
Golf is “a gentlemen’s sport” that requires a students to take an approach that’s different from other sports because of rules they have to abide by and the necessity to call the rules on themselves when appropriate, he said. “It takes a level of maturity that hopefully rubs off on other aspects of their lives. It’s amazing to see the respect they have for one another. They take their hats off and shake each other’s hands when they finish, they’re encouraging to one another and even their opponent when they make a good shot.”
A tip of the tee
Chaminade College Preparatory High School finished second in the Class 4 boys golf state championship May 13-14. The team narrowly missed a championship with a score of 613, edged out by Jackson High School, which scored 611.
Chaminade’s Josh Heidenry and Ryan Walsh tied for third with two-day scores of 149. Also competing for the team at state were Zach Walsh, Cooper Benedict and Michael Bugyis.
Other golfers from Catholic schools in the St. Louis Archdiocese with top finishes included Ian Blome of Christian Brothers College High School, tied for seventh; Brennan Dolnick of DeSmet, tied for seventh; Thomas Bourke of De Smet Jesuit High School, 15th; and Jonathan Turner of St. Louis University High School, 18th.
In Class 3, Alex Garza of Priory High School came in 18th.
In Class 1, Max Floyd of Barat Academy finished 10th.