Boys' Golfer of the Year: B-H's Andy Bott

Boys' Golfer of the Year: B-H's Andy Bott

BISMARCK — It’s not often that a golfer enters the clubhouse, after putting out on No. 18, and announces, “I had one bad shot today.”

Such an occurrence is about as common as a baseball pitcher throwing a perfect game. In the World Series. In Game 7. At home.

One bad shot in golf is the mental aggravation and distraction that frequently compounds itself into another. And another. Then, a series of them.

As the person relaxes in the clubhouse, the common refrain is, “I left a half-dozen shots on the course today.”

Bismarck-Henning’s Andy Bott knows those feelings. Well.

The introductions were made years ago.

The first person to earn Area Golfer of the Year honors three consecutive years had those thoughts after a lifetime-best 61 this fall at Harrison Park.

Bott was frustrated about a bogey on No. 2 and not securing a birdie on No. 15.

“If I would have capitalized on those two things, I would have shot a 59,” he said.

And yet, Bott recognizes — and appreciates — his 61 would have been higher in years past.

“One thing golf has taught me is that one bad thing that happens can bring a person down,” Bott said. “During my best rounds, there has always been a time I had a bad shot or hole.

“It’s how a person reacts to their bad circumstances that determines how much they will succeed. It has taught me I can’t let something bad that has happened bring me down because there is always something positive that comes from a person not giving up.”

Bott has been surrounded by plenty of advisers and coaches emphasizing the importance of not losing the mental focus as well as retaining composure. His dad, Kirk, made the point. So did B-H coach Terry French, former Area Player of the Year Michael Davan — who is also an alum of B-H — along with Ryan Moore and Neil Moore from Danville Country Club.

They all helped an athlete who is now 6-foot-5 grow as a person and as a player.

A three-time IHSA top 10 state placer, Bott understands he didn’t reach the pinnacle alone.

“Before I came into high school, I had the game to compete with good players, but I didn’t have the mental game to compete with great players,” Bott said.

“Over my four years, I have really developed my mental game, such as how I approach tournaments and handle pressure. There are so many people who have contributed to teaching me how to handle myself under pressure. I am very thankful for all of the people who have supported me through the growth in my game. I couldn’t have grown into the golfer and person I am today without all the people who have taught me so many things.”

Bott hopes to major in business and play golf in college next year. He hasn’t finalized a destination but is considering Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

A love for the game

In his preteen years, Bott participated in baseball, basketball, swimming and tennis, in addition to golf.
“My dad wanted me to try all the sports and pick the one I liked best,” Bott said. “I didn’t choose golf as a primary sport until my freshman year.

“I was an average golfer when I started, but the reason I stuck with it is because I really began to love the game and I proved to myself I could keep getting better and better.”

He challenged himself, in all of the endeavors, by playing beyond his peer group.

“I enjoyed playing against older kids in all of my sports,” Bott said. “It gave me more satisfaction when I beat them. And in golf, I began to beat older kids more and more often, so it pushed me to keep getting better.”

Even if he didn’t come out on top, the experience of competing against older and more skilled players was beneficial.

“I learn more by playing against top players because I can see how they play and try to add some of their ways to my game,” Bott said. “I have been very lucky to play with such intelligent golfers in this area. They have been helpful to the growth of my game.”

Bott retained interest in the other activities he tried but only continued with basketball for the Blue Devils. Players who can dunk are in high demand.

“It really isn’t hard to find time to devote my time to each sport,” Bott said. “I don’t really forget my mechanics in my swing, and it doesn’t stay rusty that long when I spend a lot of time practicing after basketball.

“I don’t practice my golf in the winter unless we go on vacation.”

A work in progress

Some might view Bott as an accomplished golfer. He considers himself as a work in progress. It comes back to the same area in which he continually seeks improvement.

“The mental aspect is the most important thing in golf,” Bott said. “It affects the whole game, like determining how hard I practice, how much I prepare for a tournament and how I handle myself on the course under pressure.

“There are many really good golfers out there, but it’s those golfers who control their mental games that win tournaments and succeed. It will always be something I continue to work on.”

Bott also devotes considerable time to driving accuracy and power. Shots off the tee are his favorite, he said, “because it affects my score if I don’t drive well. Whenever I hit a huge drive, it is one of those really good feelings, like dunking a basketball.”

Golf practice, for Bott, is not equated to working.

“Golf is very important to me and ranks high on my list of interests and passions,” he said. “It has so many good times and memories associated with it. It is my favorite thing to do.”

Getting to know Andy Bott

Why he’s Player of the Year: Medalist in Class 1A regional and sectional tournaments and tied for sixth at state, with a 162 for 36 holes. He becomes the first area athlete to be the golfer of the year for three consecutive seasons.
Season highlights: Shooting a school-record 61 at the Vermilion Valley Conference meet, at Harrison Park, Danville, on a day he lost a shot on the first hole by bogeying it. For 33 nine-hole rounds this season, averaged an area-best 37.1 strokes.

A few of my favorites: Pizza ... Last text to Austin Toler ... 2003 BMW 525i ... English ... Luke Bryan, Drake or John Mayer ... Dustin Johnson ... Toughest course, Mistwood Country Club ... Role model, my dad ... First job was at Danville Country Club ... Bismarck-Henning is a very good high school for academics and athletics.

About Bott: “Andy has been a great example and leader for our team. He is always very respectful to his competitors, and coaches often tell me how their players enjoy it when Andy is in their group. He is a great example of what we are trying to teach our team on and off the course about respect and how to handle yourself to prepare for life.” — B-H head coach Terry French

Boys’ Players of the Year

2013    Andy Bott    Bismarck-Henning
2012    Andy Bott    Bismarck-Henning
2011    Andy Bott    Bismarck-Henning
2010    Seth Trolia    Mahomet-Seymour
2009    David Keenan    Salt Fork
2008    Ryan Murphy    St. Thomas More
2007    Joe Smith    Centennial
2006    Michael Davan    Bismarck-Henning
2005    Joe Smith    Centennial
2004    Joe Smith    Centennial

Boys’ Coaches of the Year

2013    Mark Tate   St. Thomas More
2012    Terry French    Bismarck-Henning
2011    Mike Wallner    Centennial

Final N-G Top 10

1. St. Thomas More    Two seniors among team’s top six
2. Bismarck-Henning    Two seniors among team’s top six
3. Centennial    No seniors among team’s top six
4. Mahomet-Seymour    Two seniors among team’s top six
5. Champaign Central    Two seniors among team’s top six
6. Tuscola    Two seniors among team’s top six
7. Rantoul/PBL    One senior among team’s top six
8. Urbana    Two seniors among team’s top six
9. Blue Ridge    Six seniors among team’s top six
10. Monticello    One senior among team’s top six

All-Area Honorable Mention

Cody Bauman    Rantoul    Jr.
Brendan Black    Judah Christian    Jr.
Mike Braverman    Centennial    Jr.
Gunnar Campbell    Tuscola    Jr.
Noah Campbell    Bismarck-Henning    Jr.
Ben Carnahan    Champaign Central    Fr.
Drew Coyne    Mahomet-Seymour    Sr.
Jesse Dankle    St. Thomas More    Sr.
J.T. Donahue    Urbana    Sr.
Alex Duffy    Prairie Central    So.
Will Duggins    Blue Ridge    Sr.
Eddie Durham    Tuscola    Sr.
Tyler Erhard    Judah Christian    So.
Clark Fink    Iroquois West    Sr.
Garrett Grimsley    St. Joseph-Ogden    So.
Burl Gillespie    Watseka    Jr.
Logan Hannon    Mahomet-Seymour    Sr.
Mitchell Hockman    Mahomet-Seymour    Jr.
Shane Irby    Cissna Park    Sr.
Cory Jayne    Blue Ridge    So.
Ben Khachaturian    Centennial    Jr.
Christian Khachaturian    Centennial    Jr.
Hayden Kile    Shiloh    Jr.
Wes Kramer    St. Thomas More    Jr.
Clay Mallory    Prairie Central    Jr.
David Manselle    Tuscola    Jr.
Alex Marcusiu    Mahomet-Seymour    Jr.
Austin Merritt    Chrisman    Sr.
Clayton Miller    Arcola/Arthur-Lovington    Fr.
Bryce Nowak    Prairie Central    Sr.
Isaac Overman    Centennial    Jr.
Zach Paragi    Mahomet-Seymour    So.
Mason Potts    Blue Ridge    Jr.
John Rodawig    Centennial    Jr.
Devyn Roesch    Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley    Jr.
Brandon Rowe    Oakwood    Fr.    
Cole Sanford    Salt Fork    Sr.
Wyatt Small    Centennial    So.
Christopher Tate    St. Thomas More    Jr.
Riley Thompson    Champaign Central    Sr.
Tristyn Trosper    Hoopeston Area    Jr.
Tyler Vodacek    St. Thomas More    So.
Jarrett Wallace    Tuscola    Jr.
David Warren    Bismarck-Henning    Jr.
Adrian Wells    Mahomet-Seymour    So.
Kameron Wilken    Iroquois West    So.