While the unpredictable spring weather makes it hard to work on their game, golfers at Harrison High School received a gift that allows them to practice their swing regardless of what’s happening outside.
The Blank family donated two training simulators to the school’s golf program several months ago, and the Hoya teams have been using them almost daily. The machines sit side by side in the golf room, and players can practice whenever they want, even if thunderstorms or a cold wind are raging outdoors.
“We have had a connection to the school since 2018,” donor Adam Blank said. “Our daughter, Haven, has been playing golf with me since she was 7 and for Harrison for four years. We recognized a need and decided we could help.”
The generous donation makes Harrison one of only three Cobb County schools to have a simulator and the only one with two. In fact, very few schools across the state have these machines.
“There’s not a lot of schools in the state, including college level, that have access to this kind of equipment,” Harrison head coach Travis Farmer said. “They really give us something to help build the future of the golf program here.”
The simulators hopefully will help continue the program’s storied history. The boys team has been to the state tournament every year since the Hoya program began in 1992, winning three state and 20 region championships and being state runner-up twice. The girls team started a couple of years later and also has never missed a state appearance, claiming one state and 19 region titles and being state runner-up three times.
Besides allowing golfers to practice anytime, the machines also provide loads of information on each swing, which players can use to improve their game.
“They give us unreal data feedback,” Farmer said. “Ball speed, club speed, spin rate, accurate distances, just to name a few. All of that data helps the players to identify and adjust their swing path and putting technique.”
Junior Olivia Kirkman agreed. “They have really helped with my consistency and being able to know my yardages,” she said. “I have been able to make little tweaks here and there to improve on the course.”
Haven Blank, a senior, said having the simulators at school is “so convenient” for the golfers.
“We don’t have to travel to the course or the range,” she said. “The simulators give you so much information. It has really helped with getting my distances right and helped me improve overall.”
Farmer said the golf room now is an area that’s “really helped the entire team bond.”
“With two simulators, we can have the boys on one and the girls on the other,” he said. “We’re all invested in each other and support each other. We’ve become like a family.”
Kirkman noted the team room has “become a hangout.”
“We have a couch in here, and we can watch each other swing and help each other out,” she said. “It’s really nice, and it’s been a lot of fun.”