Sandy, Central Catholic golfers find friendship on the fairway
For two high school golfers, the sport is about more than seeking that perfect shot or fabled hole-in-one — it has become a way to find friendship on the fairway despite donning different jerseys.
Two sophomore special needs golfers, Sandy's Brody Foster and Central Catholic's Marty Mitchoff, have become fast-friends while golfing alongside one another during Mt. Hood Conference matches.
Both teed off for the final time in the regular season Thursday, April 28, on a rainy afternoon playing the links at Mountain View Golf Course in Boring. They played 9 holes punctuated with plenty of laughter.
"I know this course like the back of my hand," Foster said of a course he trains on.
Mitchoff has been golfing since he was five years old. As a youngster he would walk the course with his grandfather, Geno Mencci, picking up golf balls. Eventually that shared activity morphed into actually playing the course. And Mitchoff still loves to play a round with his grandpa.
"I like to crush the ball," he said with a smile. "It is very exciting and lots of fun."
Rams Coach Halé Concon described Mitchoff's patented fast style of golfing with a chuckle. Unlike other golfers, Mitchoff doesn't need much time to warm up. He embodies that desire to "crush it" with a quick, powerful swing.
"With Marty it is blink and you miss it," Concon said. "He always has a smile on his face."
Foster is newer to the sport. He has been playing for two years — beginning as a freshman with the Pioneers. It is the first sport he has really dived into, after not clicking with the more violent wrestling.
"I just have fun, being out here and playing with the team," he said. "I like to meet new people."
Sandy Coach Mitch Staehle said Foster brings an invaluable energy to the team.
"He is the fun guy of the group, always quick with a joke," Staehle said.
Mitchoff and Foster first met during a match at the Rose City Golf Course in Portland. They had a shared energy — being goofy and quick to smile — so it was only a matter of a few holes before they forged their friendship. Now anytime Sandy and Central Catholic play is a chance to circle the calendar and connect. Before their tee-time, the two catch up, share stories, and just enjoy one another's company.
"(Marty) is a pretty cool kid," Foster said.
Earlier this season, during week three of the Mt. Hood Conference season, the pair played at Glendoveer Golf Course. It was a great round for both, though Foster still has nightmares about a water hole.
"Yeah, yeah, don't remind me," he said.
Though Foster lost a ball into the pond, his friend was right there to lift his spirits. And for his part, Mitchoff was seconds away from leaping into that water to find it.
"Brody is my friend," he explained.
Though this is the final match of the season for the two JV golfers, both are planning to return next season as juniors. And golf is a passion for both Mitchoff and Foster that they plan on enjoying the rest of their lives.
"In golf the opponent is the course, and there is always friendly banter and connections being made with your group," Staehle said. "Both Brody and Marty embody that spirit with their friendship."
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