Viera High’s Guettler bonds with father while golfing
Viera High sophomore Gage Guettler is headed to the Cypress Bay Golf Club in Orlando this month to take part in the sub-regional of the national Drive, Chip & Putt tournament. Guettler qualified by winning his age group at the local event held at Duran Golf Club in May.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
He first picked up a golf club at the age of three, but it wasn’t until just two years ago that Gage Guettler started playing the game consistently.
And it was for the best possible reason.
“My dad’s a huge golfer, always has been,” Guettler said. “He was like, ‘Why don’t you try this? Pick up a golf club, come out with me and practice. I was like, ‘Hey, this is pretty fun.’ I might want to try this.’
“And here I am now.”
The Viera High sophomore will head to Orlando on Aug. 12 to take part in the Drive, Chip & Putt sub-regional competition at the Cypress Bay Golf Club. The top two in each age group from that event will move on to the regional round at TPC Sawgrass on Sept. 16 with the winner there getting a chance to compete for the national title next spring at golf’s holy ground, The Masters, in Augusta, Ga.
Guettler qualified for the sub-regional by winning the local competition in the 14-15 boys age group at the Duran Golf Club in May.
The event drew more than 100 children from all over Central Florida and was a smashing success that should ensure Duran will get to host future Drive, Chip & Putt events.
Founded in 2013 by The Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America, the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is a free nationwide development tournament designed to grow the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills used in golf.
Golfers hit three balls in each event. The driving competition is based on distance and accuracy, while the chipping and putting scores are based on how close the shots are to the hole.
Other golfers who played at Duran and qualified for the sub-regional in their age group included:
7-9 — Lawson Hovey (Winter Park), Ty Bogey (Oviedo), Brody Vogel (Melbourne); 10-11 — Asher Joseph (Melbourne), Corbin Snyder (Melbourne), Austin Addington (Melbourne Beach); 12-13 — Wilson Stringer (Orlando), Cash Luck (Rockledge), Zubin Joseph (Melbourne); 14-15 – Guettler (Rockledge), Noah Pesquera (Melbourne) and Jackson Snyder (Rockledge).
7-9 — Madeleine Burda (Harmony), Alivia Roszkowiak (Melbourne), Olivia Luu (Viera); 10-11 — Ann Burel (Orlando), Mia Perez (Parkland), Hannah Hall (Rockledge); 12-13 — Emma Baumgartner (West Melbourne), Vivian Luu (Viera), Phoebe Koch (Rockledge); 14-15 — Briana Gabe (Melbourne) and Gabrielle Fernandez (Merritt Island).
A member of Viera High’s golf team as a freshman, Guettler is hoping to have an even bigger impact as a sophomore now that his game has started to improve.
“Definitely in my short game, the chips and the putts (have been improving),” Guettler said. “I remember when I really first started, those were horrible. I couldn’t do anything around the green. But now they’re getting much, much better.”
The improvement in Guettler’s game started coming a year ago when he began taking lessons from Justin Blazer, who is the director of instruction at the Duran Academy of Golf.
As Guettler’s mother, Samantha, pointed out, the real beauty in her son taking up golf has been the chance to play with his father, Carl, because it’s a game they can always play together.
Father and son play golf together as much as they can and always make the game part of family vacations.
I get to spend almost every weekend playing golf with my dad, which is nice,” Gage said. “… It’s a great time for us to catch up on what’s going on during the week. He’ll help me on my golf swing. I can’t really help him. He’s pretty good.”
What would it mean to Gage — who just turned 15 last month — if he were able to play golf in Augusta?
“Oh my goodness, it would probably be the greatest moment of my golfing career and life,” he said.
“It would be unbelievable. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”