Griffin’s taking his game to a new level
It may seem like there is plenty of summer left, but believe it or not, the fall high school golf season is already upon us.
7hH fiUsW PDWFhHs IRU sRPH local school teams will come on Monday.
In this area last fall, there was no better high school player than Wissahickon’s -DlHn GULIfin.
As a sophomore, Griffin wRn WhH 6uEuUEDn 2nH American Conference indiYLGuDl WLWlH, TuDlLfiHG IRU GLstricts, regionals and the state championship, where he had D WRp-20 finLsh.
This summer, his game and his character have only risen to new heights. Last month, he set a new tournament record at t he Christman Cup, a Golf Association of Philadelphia junior event played on Merion’s West Course, which Griffin blistered for a 36-hole total of 7-underpar, his 133 total a new tourney record.
GULIfin, whR up WR WhDW point had a career-low of 67 on the same West Course, pRsWHG D finDl-URunG 65 Ln winning the Christman.
He was one of four juniors to represent the GAP at the prestigious Williamson Cup, where the GAP team placed IRuUWh DnG GULIfin wDs sHFond individually among top junior players from 10 different regional golf associations.
Along the way, he has been attending golf camps and tournaments across the country, and taking an early look at some possible college destinations.
All in all, it has been a JRRG suPPHU, EuW GULIfin Ls ready for the less-hectic pace of his junior year at Wissahickon and playing for the Trojans golf team.
“This comes at a great time for me after playing in all these tournaments,” Griffin sDLG RI WhH hLJh sFhRRl season, “to come out and play nine holes of golf with a bunch of guys you’ve known for many years, and with your teammates who you see every day. You get to have fun with your team.
“I really like this time of the year.”
GULIfin Ls nRw 16 DnG DW 5-IRRW-5 DnG 110 pRunGs soaking wet, will not be mistaken for a linebacker on the football team any time soon. But he can sure hit a golf ball, not the longest player off the tee, but often the most accurate and more often than not earning honors for hitting off the next tee.
6WLll, nR RnH Ls PRUH FULWLFDl RI GULIfin WhDn hH Ls Rn himself, having tasted success and knowing he wants more of it.
“2YHUDll, ,’P hDUGHU Rn myself now,” said the Talamore CC member. “I know what I’ve been able to shoot and I know I should be able to go out there and shoot a good number. If I shoot a bad number, I’m really disappointed because I believe I can do what the kids at the top are doing.
“I try to look back on good rounds I’ve shot and know I can come back.”
GULIfin WRRN up WhH JDPH because he enjoyed it. As he was improving, it was fun. Now, he has advanced to a level where much is expected of every round he plays and the local and national tournaments he has entered in come with much additional pressure. All high school athletes feel the pressure of playing for a potential college scholarship.
6WLll, GULIfin hDs nRW lRsW sight of the fun side of the sport, the idea of just going out and playing a round, and the people one meets on the golf course.
“That’s the awesome part of playing golf to me,” Griffin sDLG.
7hLs yHDU, GULIfin hDs nRW only been playing in tournaments and playing for WURphLHs RU WRp finLshHs, the 16-year-old is playing for a cause. A family IULHnG RI WhH GULIfin IDPLly is a 7-year-old boy stricken with epilepsy. Through the $-G$ DnG WhH U6G$, GULIfin hDs EHHn UDLsLnJ PRnHy for CURE Epilepsy (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy). His goal is $5,000. 6R IDU, hH Ls D lLWWlH over halfway there.
“I always wanted to do something to give back sRPHWhLnJ,” GULIfin sDLG. “, always had that idea in my head. I never knew what to do.”
The AJGA (American Ju- nior Golf Association) has a program called Leadership Links, where players can UDLsH PRnHy RnlLnH. GULIfin receives either one-time donations or monetary sponsors based on the number of birdies he has in sponsored tournaments.
“I am getting almost $10 for every birdie I make in a national tournament,” said GULIfin, whR hDs 58 suFh birdies. “That’s a huge motivation thing for me. At Merion (in the Christman), I was able to give a huge boost for them.
“It’s a great feeling to go out and make a birdie and know you’re doing something for someone else by doing that. It’s in your head, you just raised $10 to help families with epilepsy.”
7hH ELUGLHs GULIfin PDNHs in high school matches will not count toward his char- ity, but that will not stop him from trying to make as many as he can. He wants to lead WhH 7URMDns WR D 6uEuUEDn 2nH $PHULFDn CRnIHUHnFH championship, something he has yet to achieve but wants badly.
And he still has other tournaments in which he will play this fall, ones where birdies will count on his scorecard and toward his other goal, as well.
For more information on -DlHn GULIfin’s IunGUDLsLnJ for epilepsy, go to the following link:
ht t ps : / / www. a j ga. org/ PIF/HomePages/index2. asp?UID=121036#
Jalen Griffin at the Montco Amateur Junior Golf tournament at the Plymouth Country Club.