When Patrick Winslow hit his first drive at Algonkian Golf Course early this season, Park View Coach Al Dickinson knew he was going to have to make some changes.
Winslow drove the ball to the greenside bunker, some 320 yards away. In comparison, pro golfer John Daly's average drive is 306 yards; Tiger Woods averages 293 yards.
The problem is Winslow has had trouble this season controlling his drives enough to land them in the fairway, something he finds easier with shorter clubs.
"I told him that you drive for show and putt for dough," Dickinson said. "Finally, after two years, I got him to realize that."
But Dickinson isn't complaining: In addition to Winslow, a senior and Park View co-captain, he also has senior Bryan "Beaver" Meade on his team. The team co-captains consistently score in the 70s and will compete for the No. 1 spot on Park View's team this season. Dickinson said he hasn't decided who will play what just yet.
"Whoever seems to be hot that week I will shoot up to number one," Dickinson said. "So far I haven't made a move, but I plan to make one in the next couple of weeks."
Last season, Winslow and Meade also alternated at No. 1, with Winslow getting the top spot six times and Meade three, Dickinson said. Winslow advanced to the Northern Region tournament last season and missed a berth in the Group AAA meet by just two strokes.
He is trying to improve his control by hitting a smaller wood or even an iron off the tee--even on longer distance holes. Winslow said the hole has to be more than 400 yards for Dickinson to allow him to use his driver.
"I'm hitting it far enough where I can take a little off and still hit just as far as anyone in the district," Winslow said. "It's just a mental thing. When I have a smaller club in my hand, I think I have a better chance of making the fairway."
Winslow also plays baseball for Park View, and the baseball/golf crossover is one of the hardest in sports. Most baseball players will slice a golf ball because they open up too fast in their swing. But not Winslow.
"Whenever I take a baseball swing, people say that it looks just like my golf swing," Winslow said. "I'd say my golf swing hurts me more in baseball because all I seem to hit are pop-ups and fly balls."
Now that Park View has moved from the AAA Liberty District to the AA Northwestern, Winslow will get to compete against Loudoun County High School's Billy Hurley, considered by almost everyone--including Dickinson--to be the best golfer in the county. Winslow will get to play in the same foursome as Hurley in many tournaments, something Dickinson thinks will help Winslow's game.
"I think they play off each other," Dickinson said. "Both of them know they're good, and they know they can't go in there [unprepared]."
CAPTION: Park View senior co-captain Patrick Winslow has the ability to drive ball a long way, but he says his control is much better off the tee when he keeps driver in bag.