Shane Hess

Columbus High's Shane Hess poses for a photo on Monday at Elks Country Club. Hess will compete in the state golf state championships on Tuesday and Wednesday in Norfolk.

Columbus High senior Shane Hess spent his summers on the diamond from age eight until age 14. That's when the course began to beckon.

Four years later, it seems Hess has found a home in the game of golf. He'll tee it up Tuesday and Wednesday at the Norfolk Country Club as part of the Class A state championship tournament.

Hess is the lone Discoverer to advance to the season's final event.

He clinched his spot in after finishing in fifth place at the district tournament on May 13.  

"(I felt) relief," he said. "This was my last shot at making it so I'm glad I could pull through at that time and shoot well so I could make it to state, and then it was just happiness."

Having not played golf until high school, Hess wasted no time getting in as much practice as possible. During the summer, Hess said he golfed every day and played in over 20 tournaments. 

Now that he's made it, Hess said he's just trying to stay calm. 

"I'm just keeping my head cool," he said. "I've never been there before, so I'm just trying to get the jitters out so I can play well."

While Hess has never played in the the state tournament, he has had success at the Norfolk Country Club shooting in the mid-70s both last year and this year.  

Hess contributes some of this success to the similarities between Norfolk and his home course at Elks Country Club.  

"It's pretty much just like my home course, he said. "The tree lines, have to keep the ball on the fairways, just focus on the driver, have to hit greens. Just like my home course, so I'm not straying to far away."

He's also trying to develop a short memory. A lot can happy over 36 holes. The most important thing, in his mind, is to play one shot at a time.

"I'm not going to hit every shot perfect, so if I hit a bad shot maybe be disappointed for 10 seconds, but you just have to let it go and go to the next shot," he said. There's a lot of holes in the state tournament, so you just have to let the bad ones go."

He credits working his way up the ranks to a change in approach as a sophomore. In his first varsity season, state seemed a long way off.

But when the next year brought some glimpses of success, he followed it up with even more training.

"I played really well my sophomore year, and I thought if I just buckled down I could probably make it to state individually sometime and it happened," Hess said. 

Hess said its the individual aspect of golf that made him fall in love with the sport.  

"It's not like any other sport," he said. "It's all on you. There is a team, but if you want to medal, it's you. You have to play well, you have to keep your head cool, you have to focus on every shot. There's no one else. It's all you."

Hess said he hopes to medal at the state tournament and believes his familiarity and prior success at Norfolk gives him a chance.   

Hess tees of at 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday on the first hole.

Columbus High has two former state champions - Brett Beal in 2011 and Jeff Kuhn in 1997. 

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com

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