For The Tribune
With a love for the outdoors, Lute Lahrman decided to hit the tennis courts and golf courses when he got to Brownstown Central High School.
Lahrman had little experience in tennis but knew his way around the links.
“I don’t know why I gravitated toward tennis as much,” Lahrman said. “I didn’t play it when I was real young, but I’ve played golf since I was real young. We live on a farm so I’ve always been outdoors and worked on a farm and that kind of thing.”
The senior has played the No. 4 position this spring for the Braves’ golf team.
“The strongest part of my game is probably my shorter irons — like 8 iron, 9 iron and pitching wedge,” Lahrman said.
“I hit those really clean, I feel like. It kind of goes up-and-down, but right now I’m hitting my irons.
“It’s just a matter of using your range finder so you have the exact range. I can’t take a full swing here or I’ll go past the hole and I don’t want to go past the hole.”
When teeing off, Lahrman aims for accuracy over power.
“I’m not a long hitter, probably pretty average,” Lahrman said. “I’m definitely not near the longest on our team, but not short enough that it hurts me. My putting has been all right.”
Lahrman, who is left-handed, said he enjoys the home matches at Hickory Hills, where his lowest score is a 39.
“The hardest hole is close between 3 and 4,” Lahrman said. “No. 3 gets really narrow and you cross the creek, it’s a par-5, and hole 4 goes across the water, and if that’s not hard enough. I naturally hit a draw so it curves left, and the trees are on the right, so I really can’t start it out right and curl it back in. So that hole kind of works against my style.”
The Braves will play in the sectional at the Indiana University course June 3.
“It’s a tough course,” Lahrman said. “I’ve not put up a great score there yet in my last couple years. I like the course, it’s just a really challenging course. I’m looking forward to getting another chance at it.”
Lahrman played No. 2 singles in tennis his junior year but moved up to No. 1 singles last fall.
He finished tied for the program’s wins mark during his career.
In his freshman and sophomore years, Lahrman played mostly doubles.
Lahrman noticed a big jump to No. 1 singles.
“It’s definitely stiffer competition, especially schools that may not be as tough at 2 or 3,” Lahrman said. “Most schools have at least one guy really good.”
He said winning the first set, “is very important. To begin the season, you’re playing in August and September and the weather is hot. We play matches that are 90 degrees outside. You want to win in two and get off the court and save your energy for the match tomorrow or the next day.
“The big thing is the morale. To have to fight back from a set down is extremely tough and extremely hard to find the morale to fight back from that.”
For Lahrman, playing on away golf courses is much more difficult than tennis courts.
“Every tennis court is the exact same, but every golf course you go to is a little different,” Lahrman said. “The strategy of playing golf is a little different because you have to play where you’re playing not just who you’re playing.”
Lahrman believes that repetition plays suit to success in his sports.
“Especially in my sports, muscle memory is key,” Lahrman said. “In golf, you’re taking almost the same swing every single time. Having it the same every time is important.
“The same thing in tennis. With your forehand you always want to grip it the exact same way.
“You always want to swing with the same heart. If it’s not a good shot you at least want to know what it’s going to do. You want to be consistent.”
Name: Lute Lahrman
School: Brownstown Central High School
Parents: Angie and Marc Lahrman
Sports: tennis 4 years, golf 4 years
Athletic highlights: tennis – 2015 MVP, tied record for career wins.
Organizations: National Honor Society, Brownstown Teen Student tutors, Lettermen’s Club,
Plans after high school: attend Purdue University, study biomedical engineering
Favorite food: steak
Favorite TV show: The Walking Dead
Favorite athlete: Roger Federer
Q: What was the tennis schedule like?
A: “I loved the home matches. I had lots of family come and support, and I just really enjoyed the atmosphere. I always liked going to the Brown County Tournament. The way (the courts) are staggered and the different levels is really nice.”
Q: Have you enjoyed attending BCHS?
A: “I love the small atmosphere. Some kids want a bigger school. You know everybody. If you go to a different sports event you always know who is playing and you can support them personally. I’m grateful that I’ve had great experiences in my sports career here. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. You don’t want to take it for granted that
Q: Do you prefer dual meets or tournaments with golf?
“I think I like the 9-hole matches because you get to experience a lot more courses and the atmosphere is not quite as pressured. I need to work on my consistency. All the parts of my game are there. One day my driver might be on, and something a little off. If I can just get them all to line up I think my scores will come through.”