Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Georgia Tech golfer and Peachtree Ridge grad Seth Reeves is preparing for next week's NCAA Championships in Atlanta.
ATLANTA -- Why fix something that isn't broken?
If there's anyone who has come to appreciate that age-old question, it's Seth Reeves.
The Georgia Tech junior has come to ask himself that very question several times during the current college golf season.
And the 2010 Peachtree Ridge grad never was able to come up with a suitable answer.
"I played well and felt like I was in more of a leadership role on the team than I have been in the past," Reeves said of his season. "But results-wise, ... the story is, I just kind of tinkered a lot. I tried to do things to get better that weren't really things I needed to do."
But now, with Reeves and his Yellow Jackets teammates preparing to take to the Capital City Club-Crabapple Course in Milton for the 75th Anniversary NCAA Men's Golf Championship beginning Tuesday, he believes he has finally found his answer.
That answer is for him to stop overthinking his game and to simply take the advice of the golfnow.com website -- go play.
"I was definitely overanalyzing," Reeves admitted. "That's kind of the story of my college (career) -- figuring out how I do things. ... Just little things in my swing, mechanically, that I was trying to change. Honestly, all spring I've been trying to find a putter to help me make more putts. In fact, I was using the right one all along. Those are things I've learned."
But learning those lessons have been difficult at times.
Reeves' season, which includes a scoring average of 74.1 per round and one top-five finish, has produced a lot of ups and downs.
The lowest point occurred last month when the Jackets competed at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Despite being one of the team's most experienced players, Tech coach Bruce Heppler chose not to include Reeves among the Jackets' five-man line-up, which proved to be a serious wake-up call.
"It kind of was (a kick in the pants)," Reeves said of losing his spot in the line-up. "To be honest, it was really hard for me to miss the ACC. I realized I got in my own way trying to change things. The last couple of tournaments in the regular season, when I didn't play well, I was trying to do things that I've never done before, and really, I didn't need to do."
That was exactly the message Heppler was trying to send to Reeves by essentially benching him.
"We attract maybe a little more intellectual (student and player) than most (schools)," Heppler said. "So, they think a lot, and that's not always a good thing. They tend to be perfectionists, and always chasing the next thing.
"I tell him, 'You're eventually going to have this nice cake. If all you do and mix and mix and mix and mix, and never put it in the oven, you're never going to have anything to eat.'"
After missing the ACC Tournament, Reeves was hungry for a chance to earn his way back into the line-up, which he did by beating freshman Michael Hines in a playoff round during practice in the week before Tech's appearance at the NCAA Regional Tournament at the Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club in Tallahassee, Fla.
Reeves was able to contribute two rounds of 1-under par 71 during the four rounds of the tournament, helping the Jackets to a fourth-place finish, good enough to qualify for next week's NCAA Championships.
More importantly, Heppler saw signs of Reeves beginning to trust in his own ability once again.
"The light bulb that went off was that he was playing real well, and he was on a good place on the team, and he goes and gets a golf lesson right before we go down to Tampa (for the Gary Koch Invitational in April), which is the perfect golf course for him, and he plays bad, and he finds himself in a bad spot," Heppler said. "It's like, 'How'd that lesson work out for you?'
"I think finally he realized, he's always changing, and it doesn't work. Not going to ACC was a tough thing for him. I think he feels like he's playing a little bit with house money (now) because his season was over. He's pinching himself and saying to himself, 'I'm not even supposed to be here.' Hopefully, he'll go at it from that perspective."
While Reeves still doesn't feel like he's playing the best he's capable of, his comfort level should be raised considerably this upcoming week with the NCAA Tournament being held at Capital City Club-Crabapple.
It's a course he and the Jackets are very familiar with after playing many practice rounds there over the past few years.
It's also a course he has many happy memories of, including earning his team golf bag with a practice round of 68 during his freshman season, as well as qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Open at the course in 2011.
And Reeves says he and his teammates hope to add to those memories this upcoming week, and he hopes to do his part by simply sticking to his strengths.
"It kind of fits my (game)," Reeves said. "If you're a good player, you can play on any course. But that course, especially (is a good fit). It's very long, but there's not too much trouble off the tee. So, I can just really let it go and be freed up. That's the thing I like the most about it.
"We went and played (there last Wednesday), and the only guys on the course were us five. Really, nobody was out there. So, we need to go act like it's one of those days. ... Our biggest thing is not getting in our own way."