Calatena conquers CIF Golf

“Golf is called a gentleman’s game as it is a game of honesty and having  respect for others,” sophomore Russell Calatena said. Calatena has been playing golf since he was 5, marking a total of 11 years for the 16 year old who currently plays for Glendale High School.

“I compete in tournaments once every two weeks,” he said, “which are normally two days.” Calatena practices golf daily and his hard work paid off when he became the first male golfer from Glendale High School to qualify for CIF, he said.

Only 20 of the 106 qualified golfers were picked to actually compete. “I didn’t make the cut  but my goal in the beginning of the golf season was to qualify for CIF and I accomplished that this year,” Calatena said.

Calatena’s dad was the first person to introduce him to the sport. “What started as a leisure outing on the weekends with my dad to play became a normal thing for us,” Calatena said. Everytime they played, his dad would beat him. “I used this situation as motivation to get better and practiced hard,” Calatena said. “Eventually, I won over my dad.”

“What I love most about golf is the competitiveness,” Calatena said. “I am a very competitive person.” Calatena is aware of the many stereotypes about golf such as the belief that it is a boring sport. “I disagree with those people,” he said. “Golf is not just hitting a ball into a hole; you experience a lot more than that,” he said. The sport involves meeting different kinds of people of all ages, enjoying the scenery around the course, and becoming submerged in the energy and competitiveness of the game.

Golf is not just hitting a ball into a hole; you experience a lot more than that.

— Russell Calatena

Some of the skills required to play golf include knowing the distance of how far the clubs can carry the ball, acquiring the correct yardage to the pin, adopting to a certain position on the course, executing the shot based on the location and having mental toughness, said Calatena. “Mental toughness is not giving up when something goes wrong and focusing on each shot.”

“Playing golf comes with many challenges,” Calatena said. Amongst the challenges Calatena listed include finding the time to practice and compete, mastering the precision which the sport demands, adjusting to the conditions of the course and learning all the rules.

As for now, Calatena will continue to practice hard and compete. “I could see myself playing golf my whole life,” he said, “and hopefully, if I work hard, I could play golf in college.”