Campbell Fisher is crunched for time, the one thing that’s been the key to everything he’s accomplished in golf. The Lambert senior eyes the pin on No. 10 at Laurel Springs Golf Club. The first group of Lambert varsity golfers is already on its way to No. 11. It is Fisher’s group’s turn, and there’s a video camera eager to get some footage of him crushing a drive and teammates eager to get their round started.
Fisher is eager too. It’s qualifying day for Lambert’s next tournament. Fisher is usually exempt from such formalities, but he hasn’t played much lately due to a recent case of mono. It’s affected his endurance. He played his first tournament of the season this past Saturday. By the back nine, his legs weren’t as strong and his score suffered. Here, on Monday, was a chance to get his body ready for the Wolverine Invitational next week.
With the camera and teammates around, the temptation was to step right up and take a swing, but Fisher stopped.
“Is it alright if I go through my routine?” he asked.
He stepped behind his ball, visualized his shot, took a couple soft practice swings and then uncorked his iron through the ball, knocking it over a small pond.
Golf is often defined by the idiosyncratic dexterousness required to succeed, and Fisher has acquired it. This past season, he won the county championship and the Region 6-AAAAAA championship. This past fall, he signed an athletic scholarship to play golf at the University of Minnesota.
But Fisher says the most critical component to his success, put simply, has been time. A member at Laurel Springs since he was 9, Fisher practices seven days a week, sometimes six. Over the summer, he played in amateur tournaments every weekend, travelling for five to six days then returning home for two or three days before heading back out for the next one. During the high school season, when Lambert doesn’t have practice, he’ll play by himself or with teammates until its dark.
“I really haven’t gotten burned out with [golf],” Fisher said. “A lot of people do. I’m grateful [I haven’t].”
Lambert coach Brian Jakaitis says the most critical component to Fisher’s success, put specifically, is how that time is used.
“You should be intentional about what you’re doing,” Jakaitis said. “They’re all really good at that.”
Jakaitis pointed to Longhorns’ Brennan Bogdanovich to make his point. The senior, who has signed with Mercer, practiced on a putting green below the Laurel Springs clubhouse. He put a tee 10 feet away from a cup and placed his ball next to it. He pulled his putter back and swung it through. It’s a drill designed to have the ball meet the club head of Bogdanovich’s putter right in the sweet spot.
“I don’t need to tell him to do that,” Jakaitis said. “He sets it up.”
Fisher has his own drills. Right now, he’s focused on his short game. Every day, he takes five golf balls and puts them 53 feet away at various spots around the cup. In rounds of 50 putts, Fisher’s goal is to make 47. Other days, he’ll hit 50 putts from 20 feet and keep score in his head – past the hole is a bogey, in the cup is a birdie. For chipping, Fisher and his teammates make up contests and games.
All the drills and practices only prepare a golfer to attempt the hardest part: focusing on the 70 or 80 (if you’re lucky) individual shots he’ll take over the course of a five-hour high school golf tournament.
“Golf’s more mentally draining than physically draining, that’s for sure,” Fisher said. “I have no problem walking 18 holes, but the mental part is exhausting.”
The only remedy for that, Fisher says, is, of course, more time.
“It just takes experience,” Fisher said. “Right now, I’m getting better, I think, just because I’m so used to the pressure. You always get nervous. I still get nervous playing in high school tournaments. But you just get used to it.
“That’s the main difference. You can’t really get over nerves, but you can get used to them and adapt and kind of grind through it.”