Committing to Georgia, Zach Healy admits, allowed him to relax.
Recruiting for him, as one of the state’s top golfers, never reached a point of intense stress, but the lack of certainty, the weighing of choices still took a toll.
“All that stuff is fun, but it gets a little stressful,” the Norcross senior said. “For me, it wasn’t that bad because Georgia fit me so well.”
But the certainty also changed things for Healy. He no longer needed junior golf tours to build up a resume to attract coaches. Now, at least for golf, Healy had the ability and time to retreat into improving his own game.
“For Georgia you qualify every week,” Healy said. “I still have to be sharp. They are some great players. It just makes me want to work harder and get better.”
Enter the balancing act.
Healy’s golf life is three-pronged. There is the practicing regime, the amateur golf circuit and, for one last season, his high school team.
During practices, Healy focuses on consistency. He’s shown the ability to make great golf shots from tee to green and with a resume stacked with medalist honors proven he can string shots together for a round or a weekend.
“At the level that I am at everybody can hit the ball decently, everybody can putt,” Healy said. “It’s just a matter of making your practices more intense, a little longer. Everybody can do the same thing, it’s just who does it most often.”
Healy turned his attention to amateur golf over the summer. The tournaments around the region and state field tougher competition, including some players Healy will see when he reaches college. The goals for amateur tournaments mirror those of his practices, just with the added jab of competition.
“There is always somebody better,” Healy said. “I’ve got to practice harder and up my level so I can be where they are. I am close, but you still have to keep that consistency going.”
Among his early amateur successes, Healy won last year’s Georgia State Amateur Match Play Tournament. The event was one of his first attempts at head-to-head golf and Healy wouldn’t say he preferred it, but knows for ultimate college success he’ll need both a strong stroke play and match play game. The NCAA championship requires both disciplines from its golfers.
“I haven’t played enough to gauge if I like it more,” Healy said. “I love four-round tournaments. Four-rounds you have a chance to come back. You got to be on your game in match play.”
Lastly, there’s high school golf.
Healy and Norcross won the Class AAAAA state championship last season, the school’s first title and the first individual state crown for Healy. Add the football title and boys and girls basketball successes, and Healy is among the names owning the recent domination by Norcross athletics.
“All our sports have been really good and fun to watch,” Healy said.
Healy knows a repeat in the team title will be tough with the loss of three seniors from a season ago, but he does aim to defend his individual title. It doesn’t mean playing in every high school tournament, but it means showing up to the region tournament prepared to play his way in to the state championship.
“Regions is when it starts to matter,” Healy said. “Those are the big ones. If I can win regions individually, I can go to state and hopefully the team will make it, too. It would be a great way to go out.”
But then Healy eyes the future, because any golf is a chance to get better.
“It’s been a great four years, but I am ready. Ready to go on to the next.”