The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Athlete of a Month: Sam Bawden

Photo courtesy of Sam Bawden
Sam Bawden at the second round of states on Oct. 25, where he finished 30th out of 130 golfers.

Golf is a game of patience, focus and resilience. These characteristics are exemplified in the WCHS Varsity Golf team. One of the team’s most successful and consistent golfers is WCHS sophomore Sam Bawden, who has led the team to their impressive 16-1-1 regular season record.

Golf has a bad reputation because it may not look like other competitive sports that are physical and rigorous. But, unlike many other sports, it is rarely a win-lose situation. In a field of 100+ players, placing in the top ten can be considered a high achievement, the same way coming first can be. Golf is also unique in that a golfer has to juggle a lot of different parts of one’s game. Putting, driving, irons, chipping and pitching are all things that golfers have to ensure are up to par.

“People discredit the challenges of golf because it may not be as exhaustive or rough as other sports, but [I would argue that] it is just as hard, if not harder,” Bawden said. “The competitive pressure comes less from other competitors, but more from what you tell yourself as you progress through a round.” 

Bawden’s golfing journey began at the tender age of nine. Growing up in a family of golf enthusiasts, he was destined to play the sport.

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“All the men in my family play, and it was natural for me to get involved,” said Bawden. “It turns out that I [was] pretty good at it, so I picked it up as my full-time sport. I love it!”

Golf is an up-and-down sport, and your performance on the course is reflective of how well you handle your mental game, which has been and continues to be a struggle for Bawden. In conquering golfing challenges, Bawden looks up to all of his past and present coaches, along with legends such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus, for inspiration. Nevertheless, the most influential support comes from his family.

“My family has had a massive impact on my success in my golfing career,” Bawden said.  “The most influential person has been my father, who comes to all of my tournaments and, as an avid player himself, helps me navigate the ins and outs of the game. I can also thank my mom and sister, who put up with my constant practice, swinging in the house, long drives and hotel stays on weekends for tournaments.”

Being on a small and relatively young team of 15 players, most of whom are sophomores, Bawden has had excellent opportunities to become good friends with all the players.

“The Churchill Golf Team can be characterized by moments of jokes, humor and lightheartedness as well as moments of discipline and focus,” WCHS junior and varsity golfer Daniel Lee said. “I see [Bawden] as the bridge between the humor and seriousness on our team. When the ambiance is laidback, he always cracks a few jokes, increasing our camaraderie on and off the course. But when focus is needed, he changes his demeanor and encourages others to do the same.”

Bawden’s relationships with his teammates extend beyond the golf course. This has not only added a level of trust when competing in team events but has also allowed them to be inspired by the leading, supportive figure that Bawden represents in all avenues of his life.

“What is so impressive about Sam is how well-rounded he is,” WCHS freshman and varsity golfer Nirvaan De Silva said. “Not only is he great at golf, but he is a great student and the creator of the Churchill Aeronautics Club. He really puts his best effort into everything he does.”

In his vast experiences, Bawden has placed top five and top ten consistently in mid-Atlantic regional tours and won several county-wide events for the Montgomery County Golf Tour (MCG Tour). On top of that, he has advanced to the top 1% in a nationwide golf program known as “Operation 36,” proving his edge over other golfers. Although Bawden has not won a mid-Atlantic Regional or National event yet, he fully intends to achieve that accomplishment by the end of this summer. With his golfing philosophy, he believes he is poised to get there.

“It’s never over till it’s over,” Bawden said. “You can have a really bad round and a really good round in the same event. You can have a blow-up hole, and it may seem that it’s over for you, but you can come right back and birdie. Though you can only do that if you stay resilient, [which is] something I still need to work on.”

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About the Contributor
Amir-Abbas Yazdi
Amir-Abbas Yazdi, Opinions Editor
Amir-Abbas Yazdi is a senior and is the Opinions Editor for The Observer. This is his fourth year taking journalism. In his free time, he loves watching Disney classics with his family and playing soccer with his friends.

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