By Tommy Keeler Jr.
QUICKSBURG -- Andrew Good knew what he had to do to get better as a golfer. So last year he made a difficult choice to make sure to get the most out of his game.
Good decided to give up high school baseball, so he could work on his golf game and improve at his favorite sport. Good's decision paid off this past season as the Stonewall Jackson junior advanced to the Group A state tournament and helped lead the Generals to the Shenandoah District regular-season title.
"I felt like I had to do it to improve," Good said of his decision. "I think it was a good decision I made. And it worked out really well."
One of the biggest things Good said he did in the offseason was to take lessons from John Rogers at Lakeview Golf Club in Harrisonburg. He said it was the first time he had ever taken lessons.
"That was a big thing this year, I actually got some teaching," Good said. "That helped improve my game. It helped me be more well rounded."
Good, The Northern Virginia Daily's 2012 Golfer of the Year, said he also played in tournaments on a Lakeview junior tour, run by the club.
Good said he stayed dedicated to the game throughout the summer, trying to improve in every aspect of his game.
By the time the season started, Good was ready for an outstanding season and he delivered for the Generals.
He shot a 76 in his second tournament of the season at Woodstone Meadows, but said he struggled in his next two tournaments.
Good said he felt he wasn't as strong mentally as he needed to be in the two tournaments, but he learned from it and did much better in the next three tournaments.
"I got back down to where I wanted to be score-wise," Good said. "A lot of that was because I was better mentally, calmer, more relaxed and just playing."
Those three tournaments were also important to the team. The Generals trailed Wilson Memorial by 10 strokes heading into the last two district mini-tournaments. Good's scores helped the Generals rally to win the regular-season title, and he said helping the team was more important to him.
Stonewall Jackson coach Roger Wilkins said Good's team-first attitude is his one of his best traits.
"He thinks team first," Wilkins said. "And that is a huge attribute of that young man, and I think that's why he's so successful. He doesn't think about himself personally, he thinks about the team concept, even in a sport where your individual effort is what counts as far as scoring."
In his sophomore season, the Generals finished second in the regular season and came up just two strokes short of qualifying for regionals in the district tournament.
That made qualifying for regionals in the regular season this year even more special.
"We did exactly what we wanted to do," Good said. "We wanted to come out and win the regular season so we would have less pressure in districts and we would automatically be in, because our goal was to make it to regionals as a team because we were so close last year. Our team did a great job with that."
The Generals finished second in the district tournament, and were fifth in regionals.
However, Good shot a 76 and qualified for the state tournament for the first time.
"I played well at regionals," Good said. "I played steady golf. I only had one birdie, so I had a lot of pars. I didn't get into too much trouble."
Good played in the Group A state tournament at Lonesome Pines Country Club in Big Stone Gap, and shot a 127 over the two-day event, which was shortened to 27 holes due to rain.
He said it was a great experience, and he's eager to try to get back there again next year.
Good said he's been around golf his whole life, because his father plays.
In 8th grade he decided to give up football to focus on golf and he practiced with Stonewall's varsity team.
Good, who also wrestles for the Generals, said he likes the individual aspect of the game.
"No matter what everybody else does it's your responsibility and you're responsible for whether you do good or not," Good said. "I like that aspect. I just really enjoy the game. I love just everything about it. It's just fun to me."
With one more season left at Stonewall, Good said his biggest goal is to not only go back to states individually, but also as a team.
"After being there this year and seeing how everything was, I believe we have the ability to make it to states as a team," Good said. "That would be a main goal.
"Making it to states would be a great accomplishment."
Contact assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org