ON THE COURSETAKING CHARGE

Jim Hoffman has big plans for the Seymour golf program.

When the position opened a few months back, Hoffman knew a handful of candidates threw their name in the pool.

But that wouldn’t deter Hoffman — he wanted the reins.

The first-year coach, who coaches middle school basketball, got the call, and now is head coach for the Owls.

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With five underclassmen, including three freshmen, Hoffman has the opportunity to mold the golf program into his own from the start.

“I’m just thankful to be a part of it and able to build the program back up,” Hoffman said. “We’re looking at building it from the ground up. We really need our fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders out.

“It’s expensive to play golf. If we can get them interested and some way fund that, that’s what were looking to do. We want to get more kids interested in the game during the summertime.”

Hoffman served as a board member on the Indiana Golf Association for 12 years in district eight. He has also helped with the PGA junior team the past couple of years.

Right now, Hoffman aims to stress academics and fun during his inaugural season.

“We encourage enjoying it — having fun with it,” Hoffman said. “We want them to encourage their teammates like any other sport. We’ve been working on the fundamentals. If we can get the individuals better it will make the team better.

“This late in the year we really stress grades. Grades are important. I’ve always stressed that in everything that I’ve done and that comes first. The kids know that, and we’re going to press that issue all-year around.”

The Austin native has worked for Farm Bureau Insurance in Seymour for the past 17 years.

In his spare time, Hoffman has coached the Immanuel Lutheran eighth-grade boys basketball team for 14 years. During the past few years he’s also worked with the sixth-grade girls basketball team.

Another point Hoffman has stressed to high-schoolers is the longevity of playing golf.

“This is a game you can play the rest of your life,” Hoffman said. “You can play basketball, football and baseball, but at some point you’re not going to. Very few make it to the next level after high school. This is a game you can play business-related, for fun, or with your kids at 60 years old. With us, it’s an individual game but also a team sport. We support our teammates. You have every aspect.”

The Owls are 1-0 in dual play and are slated to play in a handful of competitive tournaments this season.

“It’s been a great experience so far, I have a great assistant coach in Tyler Lewis,” Hoffman said. “We’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks getting to know the kids. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity.”

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.