Midgets golfer Tanner Halter at top of his gameTanner Halter always had the swing. The only piece missing the last three seasons was the mental strength to forget about good and bad shots and look forward to the next approach.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Tanner Halter always had the swing.
The only piece missing the last three seasons was the mental strength to forget about good and bad shots and look forward to the next approach.
“When I was younger, I always got mad after shots, because I was trying to do as well as the older guys on the team,” Halter said. “Now as I’ve gotten older, I’m calmer.”
The Dickinson High boys golf team will attempt to forget its West Region tournament woes when the Class A state golf tournament starts Tuesday at Heart River Golf Course.
“Any time you are on your home-course and you are struggling to even make pars here and there, it’s real frustrating,” Dickinson senior Luke Hanel said. “We just need to put those shots behind us and keep going.”
Halter’s mindset during his senior season has paid dividends.
He was the medalist at the Dickinson Invitational on April 20 and was in two two-hole playoffs at the Bismarck Invitational on May 22 and most recently at the West Region Tournament on Wednesday at Heart River. Both times, Bismarck St. Mary’s sophomore Jake DeForest beat Halter.
“I don’t get down on anything, because when you get down on yourself, that’s when problems start to happen,” Halter said. “I just take every shot calmly, wherever it goes I just have to deal with it and look forward to the next shot.”
During the awards ceremony at the West Region Tournament, Halter received the ninth-best scoring average in the West at 77.5 shots per tournament.
“This year he’s been really consistent,” said Dickinson head coach Sara Berglund, who has been coaching Halter since he was an eighth-grader. “He’s been hitting the ball really well and he’s scoring really well too. There’s a difference, because you can hit the ball really well, but not be scoring like you want to be.”
Following Halter around the golf course, spectators in the gallery have a tough time telling if he hit a good or a bad shot. Either way, Halter has the same determined look on his face.
However, Halter isn’t always serious. He jokes around with his teammates and said it helps keep him be free of stress on the course.
“It’s more relaxed out there,” Halter said. “Just having a good time out there, making jokes on the course if you are having a bad day. It kind of livens you up a little bit. It’s a lot of fun playing with those guys.”
Hanel credits Halter for helping getting him started in golf. After the two golfed together a couple times before eighth-grader year, Hanel grabbed the sticks and joined the team.
Along with Halter and Hanel, Austin Fournier rounds out the Midgets trio of seniors this season. Fournier started playing with Halter and Hanel when he was a freshman. Halter said after golfing with his fellow seniors so long, they are more than just teammates — they are a family.
“The other guys, Austin and Luke, both help me out if I’m doing something wrong,” Halter said. “I help them out. We’re kind of like a big family. We help each other out whenever we need it.”
Not only is Halter an asset in the scoring sense for the Midgets, Berglund said he’s a good role model for the younger players on the team.
Dickinson’s other three varsity golfers include junior Shay Ridl and freshmen Carter Donnan and Alex Priebe. Sophomore Alex Turcotte has also spent time on the varsity squad.
“In practice, he’ll (Halter) have fun, but be focused at the same time,” Berglund said. “He kind of shows them how to do both.”
Halter has shown he can keep up with the best in the state. With the state tournament being played at Heart River Golf Course, he may have a little home-course advantage.
The senior has recorded rounds of 72 and 74 at the course this season and there’s no doubt he’s excited to play at home for a third time.
“I just want to go in at state really focused and knowing that I can shoot those scores at the home course,” Halter said. “I just have to stay focused and keep on practicing.”
Berglund shares mutual feelings about Halter’s play at home.
“He really plays well on our home-course,” Berglund said. “He’s been playing well all year at other tournaments as well.”
Halter has experience playing with golfers from the West for a majority of the season. The Midgets have put in time with some players from the East during the East-West Classic.
The senior knows it’s not going to be easy task against the golfers from the East, even with home-course advantage.
“They are definitely good,” Halter said. “They are going to give us a little more competition. They’re not going to be easy to beat, so we are going to have to step up our game.”