Golf not just a hobby for Incline Village sophomore Satchel Hirsh
Shortly after Incline Village sophomore Satchel Hirsh finished playing a 6-hour round of golf in the northern regional championship tournament Tuesday, May 8, he headed out to play a few more holes at Toiyabe Golf Club to work on his game.
It was the hottest day of the year. The wind was howling in Washoe Valley that afternoon and most of the kids were sun-baked after finishing their rounds.
But the 16-year-old wasn’t satisfied with shooting an 82 and finishing one shot back. So he made his way back out to the course and started working on his game in preparation for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 2A State Boys Golf championship next week.
“Not many people would do that,” said Incline head coach Sam Canino. “Golf is definitely more than a hobby for him. He really loves the game and knows the intricate rules. I’m excited to see where he goes with golf.”
Hirsh was born in Hilo, on the big island in Hawaii. He first picked up a golf club at age 5 and became a fan of LPGA golfer Kimberly Kim, a Hilo native, who at 14 became the youngest to ever win the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
“I started watching her and there were maybe 100 kids on the driving range hitting,” Hirsh said. “All my friends were doing it so I did it.”
The family moved to Incline when he was 5. His mom and dad, Tara and Adam, nor his younger sister, Shaine, 13, golf. His sister dabbled in it briefly, “but that wasn’t her thing.”
Hirsh has been playing in competitive tournaments since age 8.
Through the years as his game, and body, have grown, he’s gone through a lot golf clubs. He had a club fitter from San Diego that made his clubs. But after long drive after long drive every two months to get new clubs and make adjustments, he decided to take matters into his own hands and started putting together his own clubs.
“I kept growing and my clubs kept getting too flexible,” Hirsh said. “I just had to keep going to my club fitter, he’s really good, but it’s a long drive and it seemed pointless. I would go down there and he would make them too stiff for a while until I grew into them. Eventually, we started getting our own stuff and I started putting them together. I kept getting more things and getting better.”
His garage at home has been turned into a workshop. His club fitting area lines one whole wall and takes part of another. He has dozens of shafts, grips and clubs.
“The garage is very cluttered with golf stuff,” Hirsh said. “There are bags of old equipment everywhere.”
He’s been putting together his own clubs for almost a year. He gets his heads for his woods from Japanese company Masda Golf, which hand makes them.
Hirsh says it would take about two days for him to put together a set of irons, but making woods are more difficult.
Putting together his own clubs is something he plans on doing going forward.
“He is undeniably a goofball and he’s definitely his own person. He’s funny and has a terrible haircut he needs to change,” Canino said jokingly. “But what he’s doing is significant. It’s something, when you get to a certain level where he is, you need special shafts and he’s having to reach past what is readily available.”
Hirsh will take his custom clubs south this weekend to prepare for the 36-hole state tournament at Boulder City Municipal Golf Course. He will tee at off at noon Wednesday, May 16, in the first round.
“I’d like to win,” said Hirsh, who finished in the state as a freshman. “I’ve just gotta get down there and get familiar with the course. The south people will have an advantage. I need to see the hole, otherwise I’m kinda lost. I need to have a plan.”
“I’m sure his goal is to probably win the whole thing,” Canino said. “And I think that is achievable.”