WORTHINGTON -- Ben Koepsell is a newly-minted graduate of Worthington High School, but though he’s still a teen-ager he’s already a veteran golfer. In fact, he’s been playing golf almost as long as he was able to walk.
“I started playing golf when I was in diapers, so I don’t remember the exact day. But I guess there are videotapes of me swinging clubs in my diapers,” he recalled recently.
With so much practice, it’s maybe not surprising that Koepsell has a beautiful swing these days. Indeed, he was already an excellent performer on the Worthington High School team in his junior year, when he carded a 72 at the local course to become a medalist at the Big South Conference meet -- while helping the Trojans earn their third consecutive league championship.
In the spring of 2018, Koepsell has been a mainstay of the WHS boys squad. On Tuesday, he competed with his teammates for individual and team honors at the Section 3AA tournament at the Oakdale Country Club in Buffalo Lake.
Of slight build, he nevertheless packs a punch off the tee. But it’s his short game that he really focuses on.
“My best quality in golf is probably my short game,” he said. “I haven’t been good at it in the past, but I just try to stay calm and just think about the next shot and not worry about whether I have a bad shot. … I need to keep improving on my short game, because that’s the biggest factor in everything.”
The Globe interviewed Koepsell for The Drill prior to the section tournament season. To see the video, you can go online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sample of the interview:
QUESTION: What are you trying to work on this year to keep improving?
ANSWER: “The best advice I ever received was probably that the short game is the most important thing. If you can have a good short game, you can be a good golfer, no matter what. I don’t think clubs really matter. I was playing with 1970s blades last year, and I think it’s just the person swinging the club.”
Q: Who inspires you? Someone you know? A famous athlete?
A: “When I was younger, my dad inspired me to be a good golfer. I always wanted to beat him. That was always my beginning goal. And once I started getting better than him, I started to gain confidence and I wanted to be better than everybody. And my mom inspires me. I do a lot of this for her. And my friends.”
Q: As a WHS graduate, what are your future plans?
A: “I plan on moving to California, taking a gap year so I get residency so college is a lot cheaper. And then I plan on going to a community college and try to play golf there.”