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High school golf: Freshman Christy helps restore Canton program

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CANTON — Danny Christy would not accept the absence of a golf team at Canton high school as par-for-the-course in these fiscally-challenging times.

Instead, the Canton freshman went before the school board in February and made a presentation on why the sport of golf should be brought back after being cut from the budget after the 2011 season.

As a result of the efforts of Christy and others, the Golden Bears return to the links this season after a two-year hiatus.

“I took three or four days and made a list of all the reasons why they should bring it back. I wrote it in essay form and read it to the school board,” Christy said. “I told them how golf can affect your personal life. It’s different from a team sport in that you’re relying on yourself. You have to play by the rules and keep tabs on yourself and you have to be honest. It teaches good morals and integrity. And it’s a coed sport so both boys and girls can play.”

Rob Brown, Canton’s golf coach, said the Golden Bears owe their time on the course to Christy.

“Danny is one of the main characters in getting golf restored. He did a nice job speaking before the board,” Brown said. “He puts a lot of time in and he’s going to be a very good golfer by his senior year. And there are three or four other guys here who are really dedicated to the sport.”

Canton has a very young team comprised mainly of seventh through ninth graders.

“It’s going to be cool to see a young team develop,” Christy said. “It’s great that golf is back. I was looking forward to it when I was younger and then when I got to seventh grade, it was gone, which was very disappointing.”

Members of the St. Lawrence University golf course (Canton’s home course) and Danny’s mother, Jorja, have played key roles in fund-raising efforts for the sport. Jorja wrote a fund-raising letter, and St. Lawrence club members John Pezdek and Joe Keniston distributed it. And SLU golf coach Mary Lawrence has allowed the Canton team to practice at SLU’s indoor golf facility until the area courses dry out a bit more.

“It was brought up at the annual meeting of the St. Lawrence course that they wanted to help, and Jorja has spearheaded the effort to collect the donations,” said Canton athletic director Bill Porter. “At Canton, we appreciate their efforts and we hope things improve (budget-wise) here in the near future. There’s a lot of politics right now at the state level.”

Christy, meanwhile, has backed away from budget politics to focus on the sport he loves.

“Golf is one of the most mental games there is. It’s basically a battle on the course,” he said. “Even if you hit a bad shot, you have to think positive and focus on hitting the next one better. It’s my favorite sport and I hope I can play someday on the college level.”

Said Brown: The kids are excited and we have decent numbers. It’s great to have golf back. It’s a lifetime sport you can play until you’re 80 and we have two great courses (SLU and Partridge Run) in town. We’re headed in the right direction.”

NAC OUTLOOK

Ogdensburg Free Academy is the defending Division I regular-season and tournament champion, and the Blue Devils return Conor Hannan, who finished third overall at the Section 10 championship.

Madrid-Waddington was the regular-season champion in Division II and Tupper Lake won the Division II tournament. Madrid-Waddington returns Jeff Mott, who played in the state tournament last year, and Tupper Lake returns Riley Amell, who also was in the state tournament.

Among the individuals returning is defending Section 10 champion Hunter Francis of Massena, as well as state tournament participant Devin Delisle (Brushton-Moira).

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