The Brunswick High Lady Pirates golf team hired Needwood’s Robert Cannon to move the program in the right direction.
Having played high school golf at Wayne County, Cannon knows what it’s like to have a hands-on experience to help the Lady Pirates golfers.
“The biggest thing that I have had to work on is just the fundamentals of the game,” Cannon said. “It’s one thing to try and improve stroke play and how to actually improve their shot. Really working on the mechanics and putting, but I think the biggest thing up front is going to be working on mini-camps but also the fundamentals of how to limit strokes.
“I was telling somebody on the course the other day, that’s the biggest thing for folks, and at the younger age that is overlooked are the simple details that can add up strokes, such as penalties, moving the ball, and now marking it correctly . Drop locations, how to drop, and where to drop.”
Taking over a program like Brunswick’s, Cannon is fully prepared to be hands-on during his first year to have the girls be prepared to not lose strokes on the course.
“The biggest goal for the first year is for some of these younger girls that don’t know how to play and it’s going to be to try and teach them how to not lose strokes and then go from there,” Cannon said. “I think it’s going to be working on fundamentals daily and mini-camps on their short games, shot shaping, and really just making ball contact. That’s going to be one of those things that we are going to work on.”
When he was interviewed for the job, Cannon spoke about the mental fortitude of golf and moving on to the next shot instead of being disgruntled about a previous shot.
“I’ve seen so many good golfers burning out at a young age,” Cannon said. “I was telling some the other day that I was playing with, I said listen, ‘You are never going to be better than me, you are never going to be worse than me. You can only be better or worse than yourself. Your game has nothing to do with what I’m doing. It’s 100 percent on you.’ So keeping that mental fortitude and keeping yourself strong and pushing forward and overcoming stupid mistakes.”
Cannon originally never planned to be a coach, even when he was asked as a college student when he would take over a program as he entered the education world. The eighth-grade physical science teacher took over the Warriors’ softball and boys soccer programs.
“Going through college, I was always asked where I was going to coach and I would say I’m not I’m just going to teach,” Cannon said. “I found myself in the coaching world, coaching soccer and softball and it really just takes time. The year that BHS, not bragging but being honest, beat GA in soccer, 90 percent of those kids came from Needwood and it was essentially four years of my all-stars on one team that (Enrique) Power crushed and hammered it out to a super team.”
Knowing what it takes to build a program at the middle school level, Cannon is ready to build the Lady Pirates golf team from the ground up.
“Eventually once you start making improvements, and you start seeing growth, and you start seeing gains, and then you start seeing wins,” Cannon said. “When people start seeing that, then they are more able to come in and they are more related to what you have got to say when you can show that you can get things done the athletes kind of follow suit from there.
“I’ve got a lot of softball girls that have the natural mechanics of a swing that I’m going to try and get out on the golf course, there’s a couple of them coming out with me this year and a couple at BHS that are playing golf, but they didn’t play on the team last year for whatever reason. I’ve got other athletes that are just naturally gifted and will see if we can teach them the mechanics and get them going. It’s really all about bringing the communities back on track.”
The newest Pirates coach is excited to bring as many talented Lady Pirates to the links as possible.
“At the end of the day, whoever has the best records and the best scorecards for nine holes each day is going to be the one to go out and play each day,” Cannon said. “I would like to continually rotate in and have a solid team of eight to 10 and field out a (group of) five and travel with that.”