Hanover Central senior Austin Umlauf is one of those players a coach never has to worry about.
Umlauf is a steady player capable of shooting in the 70s, while respecting his opponents as well as his teammates.
“I wish had 10 of him,” Hanover coach Jerry Kienzle said. “He’s a great kid, and he’s been a pleasure for four years. He does very well for himself and he’s turned into a fine young man.”
Umlauf helped the Wildcats win their third straight Greater South Shore Conference tournament with a 77 at South Shore Country Club last week, and he hopes to take his team to the regional for the third straight season.
“That would be great to make it to the regional our senior year,” Umlauf said. “That would be a lot of fun.”
After playing golf for fun while growing up, Umlauf got serious about playing the game after his eighth-grade year.
“I grew to love it, and then played in high school,” he said.
Kienzle is glad Umlauf stuck with the game, and he was good enough as a freshman to play in the sectional at Beechwood in LaPorte where he shot a 93. His sophomore year, he carded an 80 at the sectional and 83 this past year.
“He really has turned into a great kid to have,” Kienzle said. “He’s the person you want your younger kids to see how he acts and plays. His mannerisms on the golf course toward all the opponents and team players is great.”
Umlauf, who will attend Purdue Northwest and try to walk onto the golf team, credits his success to his mental approach to the game.
“I don’t beat myself up that much after a bad hole, which really helps me bounce back,” he said.
Kienzle knows to leave Umlauf pretty much alone while he’s on the course.
“I’ve never seen him get down,” he said. “He’ll have a bad hole, and he’ll just smile. He won’t talk to me, but I can tell by his smile that he doesn’t want to talk to me. In the end, he turns around and talks about it. He’s able to forget it and move on.
“And golf that is one of the main things — the ability to overcome poor holes or poor shots, and he seems to do it very well.”
Kienzle said Umlauf has good length and is also accurate with his tee shot and has a good approach shot.
Umlauf had to learn early how to share, being a triplet — along with his brother, Graham, who plays baseball, and his sister, Olivia, who runs track. He’s become a leader by example.
“All you have to do is play a round with him or a couple holes, and you’ll know," Kienzle said.