The COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise for a pair of Montgomery County high school golfers.
When the pandemic shuttered schools in March of 2020, it canceled the boys’ golf season, but it also alloted golfers a lot more time to work on their games.
Now, having free time to golf and utilizing it by spending time at the golf course are two totally different things.
Luckily Crawfordsville’s Luke Ranard and Southmont’s Micah Korhorn prioritized their golf games.
And their hard work paid off.
Korhorn was the Sagamore Conference medalist with a 78, while Ranard won the Montgomery County meet with a 78.
The duo is the Journal Review 2021 Boys’ Golf Co-Player of the Year.
It all started with their work ethic.
“I remember once online school started I had a lot of free time on my hands,” Korhorn said. “Throughout the spring I trained almost daily, I even had a streak of making it to the course 24 days in a row. Simply playing a lot of golf helped me be in great shape for my senior year.”
For Ranard, creating a practice routine was key.
“I do a lot of different drills,” the Crawfordsville junior said. “My typical putting drill is a bit of a modified Hydeki Matzuyama drill. Basically put four tees around the hole first at four feet then six feet then eight feet and make three balls in a row at each. I also chip 150 balls about every other day and everyday during the season. This helps a lot with feel and overall ball striking. On the range I usually focus on short range wedge shots, mid iron ball striking and driver consistency.”
Ranard worked on every part of his game, but focused on which parts would matter the most once he got out on the course into a competitive match.
“His swing is great and hits a lot of great shots, but he knows that you save strokes around the green,” Crawfordsville coach Tom Perkins said.
Southmont struggled as a team during Korhorn’s sophomore campaign in 2019, but the Mounties’ lone senior helped turned the tide in 2021.
“I talked with Micah last year during the spring when we knew we weren’t going to have a season,” Southmont coach Bill Whalen said. “I told him then that he was going to be the only senior in 2021 and we would be looking to him for leadership. I told him I was naming him captain and he did a great job. Micah is not a vocal leader but leads by example. He has a great work ethic and was good for the younger guys to see what it takes to be good.”
Southmont won the county crown with a 350 and was the IHSAA Sectional and Sagamore Conference Runner-Up.
The pivotal point for Korhorn came at the SAC meet when he distanced himself from the field. When he took the course at Rocky Ridge in mid-May, he knew he was competing with the best of the SAC for the last time.
“Walking down the fairway on the first hole I realized this was my last time playing in a Conference golf tournament,” Korhorn said. “I decided no matter good or bad, I was going to thank God for the opportunity to play and I was going to enjoy my last time there. That’s exactly what I did; enjoyed it the whole time, played smart, and had an awesome day.”
While Ranard earned first-team all-conference at the SAC meet, he didn’t start playing his best golf until later in the season. That came with a change mentally.
“My mentality for this season was just play golf,” Ranard said. “My mentality changed slightly getting into county and the offseason to sort of being why not me? Why not. I played well in county against good competition and came out on top. I played decent enough to get out of sectional and I was heavily influenced by the thought of ‘why not me?’”
It finally came to a head when he struggled out of the gate at the county meet. Once again back at Rocky Ridge, like the SAC meet when he fired an 87, he was struggling to find his groove.
“Luke gets down on himself, but then Luke also knows when it’s time to just quit thinking and play,” Perkins said. “Just let your ability take over. Don’t try and overthink it. And that’s what him and I talked about between four and five at Rocky Ridge and the next 11 holes he played even par.”
His rough start quickly turned into a 78 and medalist honors.
Korhorn’s career is over, but he will be missed by Southmont golf. For four years he helped set the tone for the Mounties.
“Aside from golf, Micah is just a great young man with a very good future ahead of him,” Whalen said. “I attribute his stepping up due to being able to keep his emotions in check and not wear them on his sleeve. You never know what he has made on a hole because his demeanor is the same. I always say I don’t want to be able to know from your emotions if you made a birdie or a triple bogey. Just get focused on the next hole. Micah was very good about that and was able to pull things together if he had a bad start.”
Ranard will be back though for his senior campaign. After qualifying for the regional meet with a fourth-place finish at 81 at the sectional, his goal next year is the state finals. And to lead his team to the regional round with him.
“The work ethic is really there, and I’m pleased that I’ve got him coming back, because I’ve got several promising sophomores and a real promising freshman, and they’re going to see that work ethic too and they’re going to see that if you really want to get good, you’ve got to work hard at it and Luke will lead the way on that,” Perkins said.