Garnet Manley III, the ace of Jefferson Forest golf team, has been preparing for the upcoming high school season.
And this is one situation in golf in which a high number is most probably going to be an asset.
Here it is: In calendar 2019 alone, he has played in 31 tournaments in six states from Connecticut to Florida.
Not that that’s any big deal for him. During two prior years his tournament touring topped 50.
“It helps a lot,” Manley said of both the packed schedule and stout competition. “When you find yourself in a situation you’ve been in before, you know how to handle it.”
Garnet Manley Jr., also the Cavaliers’ coach, is hesitant to put a number on the cumulative mileage or accompanying expenditure, although it will slow down a bit now with the high school season beginning on Monday with the Heritage Invitational at London Downs Golf Club.
“It seems like I’m having to change the oil in the car all the time,” he said. “The money spent? I don’t know. I don’t want to know.”
With the exception of a week this summer at the beach and off the golf course, the Manleys have been roadtripping for consecutive weeks.
By the way, Manley III won five of those tournaments and was runner-up in a like number more.
Home sweet home is neither cliché nor exaggeration under these circumstances. So when the Cavaliers had their qualifying tournament for the starting rotation last week (as if Manley needed to qualify), he fired a 10-under-par 62 at home course Ivy Hill Golf Club.
That being a personal low, how did he react?
“Well, I had a chance at 61 on 18 and left the putt short,” he said. “But I did have a nice fist pump on 17 when I got to 9-under, which I’d never done before.”
Manley was All Timesland last year and earned it with seven wins, a dozen top fives, and 13 top 10s in 14 starts. He ended up 14th at the one-day Class 4 state tournament at Williamsburg National, a finish he was not pleased with.
“I didn’t play that well,” he said. “It was nerves. A one-day tournament, anything can happen. I was 4-over after four and held on just to get in with that.”
If he’s back in the championship this fall, his approach?
“Try to get off to a hotter start.”
The Cavaliers have a strong returning core with Manley and fellow seniors Jonathan Peterson, who is coming off a breakout junior campaign, and Caleb DeBass.
“We’re looking for that fourth scorer,” Manley said. “There are a number of people we’re looking at to see how they are now. They haven’t played a lot of golf and we’re trying to assess them now.”
One of the side benefits of playing all those tournaments for Manley is being exposed to college coaches. No question that college golf is his goal, but equal or more weight goes to the academic side of the fit.
No wonder. His three-year high school grade point average is 4.4. Furthermore, his favorite subjects are math and history. Those who enjoy that sort of dynamic academic versatility are hard to find.
It figures he’d be strong at numbers, though. He’s had ample practice counting highway miles.