Boys golf

Portage senior golfer Jack Lewis learns, teaches lessons

2011-04-12T22:00:00Z 2011-04-14T05:11:51Z Portage senior golfer Jack Lewis learns, teaches lessonsBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356. nwitimes.com

Portage senior golfer Jack Lewis is a student of the game, but he also enjoys being a teacher.

Lewis sparkled in the April 6 season opener against Griffith, winning medalist honors with a 2-over-par 36 at Robbinhurst and leading the Indians to a 155-192 win.

"I hit a lot of balls over the winter, and that really helped my swing," Lewis said. "I feel I'm playing with more confidence this season."

Lewis has also spent a great amount of time helping other young golfers with their games. For the past three summers, Lewis has logged 200 service hours with Ladies Professional Golf Association-certified instructor Nancy Bender as part of the First Tee program at Creekside Golf and Training Center in Valparaiso.

Lewis enrolled in the golf enrichment program when he was 8 years old, and he took part in leadership forums in Tennessee and at Disney World in Orlando.

"I was able to see what takes place inside the ropes at tournaments," Lewis said. "Now I'm able to share my experiences with others.

"I would love to read in the newspaper about one of the players I worked with. I want to help them become the best golfer they can. It's so satisfying to have the little kids look up to me."

Lewis not only works with younger golfers in First Tee, but younger brothers Nick, a sophomore teammate with the Times No. 8 Indians, and sixth-grader Eric have sought guidance. Lewis also spends time with the other Portage golfers.

"He wants to play the big brother role," Portage coach Dick Kretz said. "He also wants to leave his mark with the team one way or another."

Outside of technique work, Lewis is imparting knowledge he's gained through trial and error with his own game.

"I was probably the worst when it came to getting down on myself, sometimes for silly things," he said. "Even if I hit an OK shot and barely missed the green, I would get upset if I didn't get the right trajectory with the shot."

Lewis said his temper boiled over when it came to competing with classmate and 2010 state qualifier Tim Talley.

"I admit that we didn't care for one another, because we were fighting for the top spot," Lewis said. "It was pointless.

"Things have just started to click. I realized that I was going through a stage and I had to get through it. I'm never going back."

The competitive juices are still flowing this year, as Lewis and Talley were part of a practice foursome which logged a 147 -- four strokes off the school record. Now the energies are focused on making the team better.

"I think our lineup is stacked and we can throw up some competitive numbers," Lewis said. "It's kind of what we have been waiting for."

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