Glastonbury High School senior Charlie Dolan is normally preparing for a golf season in March.
However, this spring is different.
GHS boys’ golf was moved to the fall, so Dolan’s days on the local links for the Guardians are over and now he sets off on a course to the next set of courses.
Dolan has committed to continue playing golf at McDaniel College in Maryland.
“I thought it was a perfect fit academically and as a golf school,” said Dolan, who is undeclared on his major but is leaning towards business. “It’s a good balance between academics and golf. I went to visit and what sold me was the guys and the coach, they were really welcoming.”
Dolan explored several schools, including colleges locally and in Florida, before ultimately deciding the college in Westminster, MD was a happy medium, weather-wise and from a distance standpoint.
The previous 12-months were a whirlwind for Dolan, who played two high school seasons and participated in several summer tournaments from April through October of 2021.
After his sophomore high school season was cancelled because of the Covid-19, Dolan returned as one of the state’s best amateur golfers as a junior. He finished tied for ninth (+2) at the Division I championship and followed it up with a top-15 performance at the Open Championships.
His senior year was moved to the fall and he took full advantage of the short turnaround, playing his most consistent golf and posting his best season yet as GHS finish as the runner-up overall in Division I. Dolan tied for second overall at the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) championship, matching senior teammate Connor Goode, each shooting a 72.
Dolan said the healthy competition between himself and Goode—who committed to play golf at the University of Connecticut—allowed the golfers to excel and was good preparation for collegiate competition.
“We definitely have that next level competitiveness and we’ll need that in college,” said Dolan. “[Connor] pushed me and appreciated that from him. It made me a better player.”
Playing at GHS, Dolan teed-off against the best golfers in the state. He said that he matured into a better player because of both the competition in practice and with the elite teams the Guardians faced.
Tom Zelek, his coach at GHS, said that Dolan developed the skills to compete at the highest levels, evidenced by his performance at the Avon Invitational when he was the co-medalist with Goode, each shooting a (-2).
Dolan also finished in the top-6 of all Connecticut high school golfers and represented Team Connecticut at the New England Championship.
“Charlie possesses many of the attributes to be successful at any level he aspires to. He has the confidence to take on challenging courses and pressure-packed situations,” said Zelek. “Charlie is able to move on from a bad shot or terrible break and focus and concentrate on the shot at hand.”
Zelek added that Dolan’s creativity on the course, combined with his competitiveness and motivation to succeed with help him thrive the next level.
The admiration between coach and player was mutual as Dolan said he couldn’t have asked to play for a better high school program, adding, “I appreciate coach Zelek. He pushed us and we have a great program. I loved the guys we had. We definitely have one of the best programs and that will definitely help me in college.”
The consecutive seasons last spring and fall also helped Dolan become a more focused and well-rounded golfer. He played continuous golf for seven straight months.
“I think that was why I played so well,” recalled Dolan. “I think that helped me because in college you will play spring, summer, fall for four years so it definitely prepared me for what is coming next.”
At McDaniel, golf will become a 12-month a year gig as competition takes place in both the fall and spring.
He’ll be joining a program led by longtime coach Scott Moyer, who has led the Green Terror to eight NCAA National Championships and numerous conference championship titles in his 36 years with the school.
Dolan said not preparing for a fall season is “weird” and that he will use this time to work his overall game, focusing on his club speed in an effort to hit it further off the tee, adding, “You can always work on your short game, chipping and putting. Those 6 to 10 footers that you need to roll in can make you three to four strokes better.”
The soon-to-be GHS graduate began playing golf at the age of 10 after being introduced to the game by his father.
“I was naturally good at it and have excelled from there. It’s definitely good to start at a young age because you can play for life,” he said.
As he got into high school he realized that his hobby could become a passion that he could take to the next level.
“Golf is a frustrating sport where there is a lot of ups and down, but when you can have that success at a high level it definitely rewards you more than any other sport. It becomes so fun and entertaining. I just love it.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin