Upcoming Hastings junior Terry Kuhn is playing some of the best golf of his young career and his confidence is at an all-time high. Kuhn, who was an integral part of the Raiders varsity boys' golf team this past spring, has played in a handful of tournaments this summer and won two Junior Professional Golf Association (Jr. PGA) tournaments the week of the Fourth of July.
The two events at the start of July were at Bellwood Oaks Golf Club in Hastings on Thursday, July 5 and then at The Summit Golf Club in Cannon Falls on Friday, July 6. Kuhn said that he liked how The Summit started out with a Par-3 hole that allowed him to get comfortable right away and not have to hit driver.
"I just hit a nice club, gave myself a chance and made par the first hole," he said. "I made a couple bogeys then made a big par save that got me going. I think I played the next 14 holes one-under-par which was huge."
The next day at Bellwood Oaks, Kuhn said that he did a good job of course management as the greens were difficult.
"It was a really, really nice day and the greens were super, super fast, so you wanted to stay below the hole," he said. "So I was just making smart club choices, staying below the hole and not going after it when I didn't need to. I was really giving myself a chance by hitting fairways and hitting greens, when I didn't hit the greens I was right around them and was pretty accurate at chipping. I hit it to about four feet every time and gave myself a really good chance to make par."
Kuhn has played two other events so far this summer in which he took 10th and then second place. He said that the biggest difference between now and the school season this past spring is his comfort level.
"I'd say I'm way more comfortable with my golf swing," Kuhn said. "I really started to play really good the first day of sections when I shot a 74, that just gave me a lot of confidence around the greens because I played super good around the greens, giving myself a chance to make par or birdie. That was huge and I kept working on my swing after school got out. I really got it dialed in."
If there is an area that still needs some work this summer, Kuhn said it would probably be his short game despite the success he's had with it lately.
"I've really been working on chipping around the green and making those seven-foot putts that could be a huge par save," he said. "I'm really working on that putter, to get it dialed in and make good, accurate putts and give myself a chance."
However, when asked what the strongest part of his game is, he did not hesitate.
"My shorter irons, from like 120 (yards) and in, whenever I'm having a bad day I just need to get a shot to there and then I'm really pretty accurate from there," Kuhn said.
Kuhn will be playing in another tournament on July 20 at Emerald Greens Golf Course and then another Jr. PGA tournament in August in Waconia that participants need to have won a previous tournament to quality. He said his that tournament will feature some very good golfers and he would not be surprised if some college coaches were in attendance. Kuhn said his goal is to be able to play golf collegiately and that college coaches pay attention to both your high school and summer scores.
"They start looking at you based off your high school scores and then they really start looking into your summer scores," he said. "That's how you get looked at, you kind of need to put yourself out there to the coaches, so that's what Pete (McGinnis, the varsity boys' coach) is helping me do, he's getting everything ready to go so I can reach out to some coaches."
Kuhn returns to a Raiders team next spring that loses seniors Nick Dittrich, Jack Williams and Jacob Erickson. However, joining Kuhn in returning on varsity are Sam Brown and Riley Biermaier.