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May 15, 2013

East Detroit boys golf coach touts players’ growth

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The East Detroit High boys golf team is swinging for its first division title since 2008. Pictured is Shamrocks junior Joe Capaldi during a May 6 match with Clawson High.

East Detroit High boys golf coach Walt Demaris — the only golf coach the Shamrocks’ program has had in its seven-year history — said this year’s team has several strengths, but none bigger than its ability to take in and retain information, using it to the best of their ability on the course.

“Most of my players have only been playing competitive golf for two years and have improved tremendously in a very short period of time,” said Demaris, whose team sat at 3-2 overall and in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division at press time.

“I’m extremely proud of every player on my team and enjoy seeing the excitement on their faces as they stripe a drive, sink a birdie or shoot the lowest round of their life.”

Demaris said a number of golfers have played a role in keeping East Detroit in the MAC Silver race. The Shamrocks last won a league title in 2008.

“(Warren Woods Tower) is the (favorite to win the division), as they have won the league the past two years and are loaded with seniors,” Demaris said.

Senior co-captain Zach Gray, who qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regionals in 2011 and 2012, is solid from tee to green, according to Demaris, and has driven the ball well this season. The Shamrocks’ coach added that Gray has good touch around the greens and that his course management allows him to play smart golf and score well.

Junior co-captain James Hall has a good short game, Demaris said, and is a strong thinker while on the course. Junior Joe Capaldi is a solid putter and ball striker, and has a strong short game, according to Demaris.

In dual meets, East Detroit starts Gray and five juniors, Demaris said.

“Another strength of this team is (the players’) ability to analyze their own swing faults and correct them,” Demaris said. “I’m the swing coach of every player on the team, but I’m teaching each player how to analyze their own swing so they can make adjustments when needed.”

Making those adjustments will be vital, with the Shamrocks set to compete in the MAC Silver Division meet, which gets under way at 8:45 a.m. May 23 at Maple Lane Golf Club in Sterling Heights, and in the MHSAA D-1 districts, scheduled for 9 a.m. May 31 at the Greystone Golf Club in Romeo.

Demaris said his golfers must improve their ability to scramble after errant tee shots — being able to save par or even a bogey. Avoiding three-putts is vital, as well, Demaris said, as he believes that’s the key to winning matches and advancing in the postseason.

East Detroit next plays Clawson High in a meet set for 3 p.m. May 15 at the Red Oaks Golf Course in Madison Heights.