Walking onto the Boulder Creek campus in the fall of 2009, Alec Bone was excited at the opportunities that lay ahead for the next four years. Being an accomplished baseball player, a more than capable soccer player and an outstanding student, high school would be the grounds for pursuing greatness with the hopes to perhaps earn a scholarship to play collegiate athletics.
Today, that dream is a reality, but it will not be the baseball diamond or the soccer field where Alec will be taking his wares. Alec will be walking the tranquil links of the Harmony Club in Fort Collins, Colorado, as a part of the Colorado State University Men’s Golf Team, and he does it as the recently crowned JGAA (Junior Golf Association of Arizona) State Boys’ Champion.
Originally, golf was a game that Alec and his twin brother Brenden played in the summertime to break up the monotony of baseball. What started as a simple game soon became another battleground for the competitive siblings. And when their physical statures began to be an issue, golf soon became the battleground.
“Baseball and soccer at higher levels required size and speed, and both sports were catching up with me. I had always been one of the “bigger kids” in junior sports but in high school it was the opposite. I figured neither sport would take me where I wanted to go,” Alec said.
While the boys were identical at birth, on the golf course they could not have been more opposite. Alec possessed unparalleled efficiency in the kinematic sequence of swinging a golf club. This allowed him to hit the ball as far as a PGA Tour player, but his 110-pound frame could not anchor the force, leading to several off-balance swings and many erratic shots per round. Brenden, on the other hand, played the game with accuracy, meticulous strategy and a deft touch. While Brenden coveted his brother’s power from the tee, his ability to pitch, chip and putt led Alec to being the one left behind on the scorecard through most of the first three years of high school.
“I’ve learned a lot from my brother. He was always the one to hit it short and knock the wedge shots close and I saw how well he scored. From him, I learned to tone back with my driver and grind on my wedge game,” Alec revealed.
Having watched firsthand and seen the importance of a fine-tuned short game, Alec set about drastically improving his short shots under the tutelage of instructor Gary Wolf.
“Gary taught me techniques to have a more consistent short game. He said that I had a good set of hands, but they’re only good for a few shots around the green. Together we tried developing all of the shots that I needed around the greens, and I still had the ‘handsy’ shot when I needed it. My practice plan was a lot of different short game drills every day during the week, and I only addressed ball striking and swing-related issues when needed,” Alec recalled.
The culmination of Alec’s development came July 10. With a thunderstorm rolling toward the Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Alec walked to the par 5, 18th hole of the Meadow Course tied for the lead in JGAA State Boys’ Championship at 6 under par. Five hundred seventy five yards away, straight up a hill, beyond a single ponderosa pine sat the treacherous 18th green. It was a narrow green, lined by bunkers on both sides, and Alec needing birdie to win. It appeared that the storm would delay a result. After cracking a trademark 310-yard drive, followed by a well struck 3-wood, Alec’s ball reached the green in two thumping blows only to feed into the greenside bunker.
After two long years of dedication to his short game, the moment had arrived. Alec set himself over the ball and played a perfect bunker shot within a foot of the hole. The birdie putt was a mere formality and Alec Bone had collected the most prestigious title in Arizona Junior Golf.
From the small celebration that he shared with friends and family, the only thing missing was his brother. The reason Brenden couldn’t be there, he had begun basic training at the Air Force Academy, where he too will be representing the men’s golf team. Ironically, the two teams play in the same conference, so Alec and Brenden will have the chance to continue their sibling rivalry, only on a slightly bigger battleground.