When Hiland junior Tremper Coblentz came into the varsity game of golf two years ago, he came in wide-eyed and hungry to prove himself.
Like most freshmen he experienced plenty of ups and downs but carved out a spot on the varsity club amid some tremendous upper classmen that included a pair of eventual All-Ohioans in Mark Schlabach and Adam Grate.
Schlabach in particular proved to be a wonderful mentor to Coblentz in many ways, and Coblentz’ ability to recognize the things that made Schlabach a player who could go out and win the Div. III state medalist honors last season in his senior year are paramount to Coblentz’ rise in the ranks of the Inter-Valley Conference’s top players.
Coblentz has quickly stormed out of the gate this season, posting tournament scores of 78, 77 and 76 in his first three outings. Those numbers have put him near the top of the class in all three tournaments at Willandale Golf Course, River Greens Golf Course and The Pines Golf Course, all tournaments in which the Hawks squared off with some pretty impressive teams and individuals.
And it is no coincidence that Coblentz’ rise coincides with his willingness to glean much from Schlabach over the past two years.
“Tremper has watched Mark play the past two years and has gotten to see how he approaches the game,” Hiland coach Austin Kaufman said. “He has learned a lot from Mark, and his willingness to learn has paid off.”
Kaufman said the biggest thing Coblentz was able to take away from Schlabach’s game was his work ethic. Schlabach was a relentless worker on his mechanics and played often in the off-season to hone his skills.
Coblentz played a ton of golf the past two off-seasons, and he too has seen his game take a gigantic leap forward.
“Tremper saw what that work ethic did for Mark, and he wants that too,” Kaufman said.
The other thing that Coblentz has gleaned from Schlabach is the ability to let poor shots wash off him.
Schlabach would hit bad shots and push them aside, focusing on the shot to come rather than dwelling on the past.
Coblentz exhibits that same kind of ability to not let poor shots or bad holes fester. Fewer examples are finer than his match against Strasburg Aug. 30 at Willandale Golf Course. Coblentz ballooned to an eight on the second hole after parring number one and then pushed that anguish aside to finish the last seven holes at one-under par. It is that ability that has allowed him to improve in leaps and bounds from last season.
“Tremper is very even-keeled, and I think he got a lot of that from watching Mark,” Kaufman said. “In this game you have to be able to put bad shots behind you quickly, and Tremper has come a long way in that aspect.”
Having learned from Div. III’s top golfer, Coblentz has moved to the forefront of talent in the area. Where he goes from here is all up to him, but having a mentor and example like Schlabach has gone a long way in helping him find ways to make himself as good as he can be.