The Manor helps mold an Eagles state champion

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It is fascinating to learn what factors go into making someone a state champion.

For Prince Edward County High School senior Henry Lutz, winner of the 2016 Virginia School League Group 2A State Golf Championship, one of those factors was The Manor Golf Club.

When the Lutz family first heard about the planned closing of the Longwood Golf Course, they were shocked and saddened like many others in the community. Their son, Henry, grew up playing at the course, and it was there that he first started learning how to play competitive golf.

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When the course closed, they were unsure about what they were going to do to continue supporting their son for his senior year in his chosen sport.

Prince Edward Athletics Director Rodney Kane said the school had two choices of where to move its team: The Manor or the Farmville Municipal Golf Course. The municipal course reached out to Kane about becoming the Eagles’ home course.

“That would have been fine, but The Manor is a mile away from the school, easy for the kids to get to, and me being a golfer, I knew what a great course that is,” Kane said. “We’re lucky to have a course that nice in the Farmville area.”

The Manor became the Eagles’ new home course for the same price the athletics program paid at the Longwood Golf Course.

“Basically, Doug Treen was awesome to work with,” Kane said, referring to the general manager of The Manor.

The new arrangement allowed Lutz the opportunity to practice regularly on a PGA-rated championship golf course.

“It’s 18 holes, it’s a long course, and if you can play this one, you can be pretty competitive at most golf courses,” Treen said.

The innate difficulty level of the course, the size and speed of the greens, the high quality of the driving range and the option of playing from three substantially different length tee markers allowed Lutz to maintain accuracy while hitting longer and longer approach shots.

While most regular season high school matches are played on courses much like the Longwood course, the regional and state matches are typically played on courses more like The Manor.

Prior to winning the state title, Lutz won the 2016 Region 2A East Golf Championship, as well.

“When I got up to the tee on a tight hole in the tournaments, I was able to just think about how I’d done it a lot of times in practice, so I was used to hitting the tight shots,” Lutz said.

Once he knew that the regional tournament and eventually the state tournament was to be held at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg, Lutz started to plan out his rounds and even “played” the course while practicing on The Manor’s driving range by choosing desired layup positions for each tee and practicing those shots and the accompanying approach shots.

While there, are a lot of factors that have had an impact on Lutz’s golf in his senior year — a major growth spurt, new clubs and three private lessons with Faber Jamerson, to name a few — the single most important factor seems to be his time spent practicing his game at The Manor.