Golfing excellence: Par for the course for Ben Borgida

Golfing+excellence%3A+Par+for+the+course+for+Ben+Borgida

by Jade Doerksen, Associate Editor

The odds of a hole in one are 12,500 to 1. Despite these odds, junior Ben Borgida made a hole in one on the first practice of the 2020-2021 season for Shorewood boys golf. Even though Borgida’s only been playing seriously for a few years, he’s already achieved quite a lot. 

After playing golf recreationally off and on throughout the years, Borgida, committed fully to the sport at the end of eighth grade, after quitting baseball. Originally, Borgida had imagined playing baseball for Shorewood; however, he soon found himself gravitating towards golf instead. Although Borgida isn’t certain what caused this shift, he believes his step grandfather may have played a part in it. “My step grandfather who passed away…people told stories about him playing golf at family gatherings,” Borgida said.  

After he picked up the sport, he signed up for his first golfing tournament. Although he placed second to last, he thought to himself “‘I feel like I could be them some day.’” Borgida did just that. He fully immersed himself in golf, and got his dad into the sport as well.

Borgida enjoys golf because it’s “really hard” and “everyone has their own technique.” The stress of playing in important tournaments can sometimes be overwhelming but “I’m really proud of myself because I’ve put a lot of work into the mental side of the game,” he said. It’s also more physically demanding than people think because you end up walking several miles and swinging a golf club dozens of times.

Although golf can be fairly individual, Borgida was lucky enough to make the boys golf team freshman year, and has been on it ever since. He was already friends with a number of the players, but got to know the others quite quickly because golf rounds can be very long. “If you’re playing nine holes it can be up to two hours, or three hours sometimes, and if you’re playing 18 holes it can be six hours with someone you don’t know super well,” he said.

With all of the quality time, the team has really pulled together. “We can push each other to become better [and] the dynamic is really fun because there’s a few players on the team who are more advanced than others and the other ones have started playing more recently,” he said. Borgida is one of the more advanced players, but not because he’s been playing the sport since he was young like many other student athletes, but because of his diligence and his family’s support in recent years.

Most mornings Borgida wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to do homework, or work out, which means he also has to go to bed around 9:30 or 9:45. “My friends call it ‘Ben Time’” said Borgida. This time management allows him to balance all his activities, and play golf about six times a week. Borgida plays golf so much because, as he says, “it’s such a touchy game. If you take some time off, it’s tough to get back into it.”

However, there are drawbacks to golf’s significance in Borgida’s life. Sometimes, his social life suffers, so “I ask my friends like ‘if I am spending too much time playing golf, please let me know so I can be a better friend to you.’” Borgida added, “I get sucked in. It’s an addiction, in a good way, but it also can take away from friends and family.”

Although his athletics can get in the way of family time, his family has worked to allow Borgida to follow his dreams of playing professionally someday. “I’m super fortunate to have [my parents’] love and support,” he said. Borgida’s parents often drive him to tournaments, and fly with him to Palm Springs where he can play golf and meet other golfers, some of whom have built careers on the sport.

Palm Springs is well known for its over 100 golf courses, and has been deemed “The Golf Capital of the World,” so many golfers visit or live in the area. Borgida got to spend three months in Palm Springs last fall and winter which he considered a “turning point” in his golfing experiences, and career. In Palm Springs he was able to meet a former professional golfer JR Delich, who lives in Pennsylvania, but regularly visits California for golf. Borgida said, “[Delich] is like 81, we’re good friends, it’s funny how golf can do that.” His connection with Delich has really helped him aspire to a golf career. “He’s been my inspiration, and my Yoda I like to say,” said Borgida.

However, Delich isn’t the only inspirational mentor in Borgida’s life. Golf coach Andrew Hershey has also been helpful to Borgida along with the rest of the team. “Coach Hershey plays a big part in being able to make that environment how it is. He is such a fantastic individual and really loves being part of the team. He takes care of everything. He’s like our father, the father of the golf team,” said Borgida. He only had positive things to say about Hershey adding that he “is one in not even a million.”

Throughout the past three years, Borgida’s mentors, parents, and friends have willingly supported him and his dream. The support is not lost on him, and he understands that golf can be quite difficult to succeed in if you don’t have the resources. “I see a connection with financial ability to travel, have golf clubs, or pay for golf because golf is expensive.” Borgida added, “I wish golf could be more easily accessible to people, to everyone who wanted to play.” 

Even for people like Borgida who can play golf quite seriously, it’s difficult to balance different aspects of life with golf. “The balance between school and golf [is hard, especially] with AP tests,” he said. School is quite important to Borgida because not only is he interested in playing golf professionally, but also in the sciences, possibly medicine. “My grandpa was a doctor for 40 years, or 50 years and he’s inspired me,” said Borgida. 

Whether or not he pursues a career in medicine, or another STEM career, golf will certainly be in his life. Although he may not play golf every single day, and may not in the future, it will stay a significant part of him. “Golf is present in my life seven days a week, 365 days a year.”