Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 7
Athlete of the Week: Nick Balderama
BY ANDREA KANG
Santa Maria High School golf player Nick Balderama has been leading his team this season, consistently making the lowest score in almost every tournament and placing in the top 10 in the Los Padres League.
According to Jay Cheney, the Saints’ golf coach of two years, Balderama is one of three returning golfers this year and has been reliable in leading a team made up of mostly beginners.
“He’s got tons of natural ability. He’s just a very natural golfer,” Cheney said. “The best part about coaching him is that we can have a good time and still be serious about making improvements and working on his game.”
Despite his inherent talent, the 16-year-old is serious about developing his skill even further. The team plays in two tournaments a week, and practices twice a week at the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course; Cheney said the latter is more challenging than courses used in the past.
Balderama said he was introduced to golf as a child by his grandfather. He began playing more often in middle school, then competitively upon entering high school. He’s now considering playing at the college level. The part of golf that appeals to Balderama is the physical and mental aspects of the game.
Although quiet and reserved, Balderama did say one of his most memorable moments this season was almost hitting a hole-in-one at the invitational tournament.
The team will play against Santa Ynez High next week at Marshallia Ranch Golf Course and Alisal Guest Ranch. Cheney believes Balderama will continue to play his best for the remainder of the season.
“You’ve had the lowest score all but one time, right?” Cheney said as he turned to Balderama sitting next to him.
David Alderete, physical education teacher at Santa Maria High School, helps Cheney out at practices and works with players on improving their game.
“[Balderama] seems really competitive for a golfer,” Alderete said. “A lot of people, I think, say golfing isn’t a sport, but he takes it seriously. He’s conscious of the game; he doesn’t come out and fool around.”