No time like present for Pelletier to try coaching HS golf

  • Pat Pelletier, of Lebanon, the No. 1 seed in match play tees off on 13 during the New Hampshire Amateur at the Hanover Country Club in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. A field of 64 compete in the 115th New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur tournament at the Hanover Country Club in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file — James M. Patterson

  • Pat Pelletier reacts to a missed putt during the New Hampshire Golf Association 2020 Stroke Play Championship at the Montcalm Golf Club in Enfield, N.H., on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file — Jennifer Hauck

  • Pat Pelletier, of Lebanon, N.H., center, lines up his putt while playing at Lake Morey Country Club golf course during the first round of the 2012 Jeff Julian Memorial Vermont Open in Fairlee, Vt., on June 11, 2012. (Valley News - Theophil Syslo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file

  • Dylan Japp

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2022 9:21:23 PM
Modified: 8/6/2022 1:29:11 PM

HANOVER — Patrick Pelletier has agreed to be the next coach of the Hanover High golf team. Just how competitive that team will be in NHIAA Division I remains to be seen.

A 2006 Lebanon High graduate and for several years an assistant under former Bears coach John Donnelly, Pelletier succeeds Zach Temple, who stepped down earlier this year and after two seasons at Hanover’s helm. Previously an assistant pro at the Quechee Club, Temple, 27, will now focus on golf conditioning and personal training and couldn’t guarantee he’d have enough time to coach.

Pelletier, 34, previously worked in various roles at the Quechee Club but said back ailments have made standing for long stretches difficult and limited his play to three or four times per month. He currently works in the Valley News circulation department and said he learned about the Hanover coaching opening less than a month ago.

“I’ve always wanted to be a varsity head coach, and there might not be a better time for me than now,” said Pelletier, once an assistant pro at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee. He has a young son and is engaged to former Windsor High athlete Amber Heath.

Pelletier played college golf at Southern New Hampshire and the University of Rhode Island and competed as a regional pro for nearly a decade afterward. He won the 2015 Rhode Island Open before regaining his amateur status and finishing second at the 2018 New Hampshire Amateur Championship.

Strong play in 2019 earned Pelletier an exemption entry for the U.S. Mid-Amateur, and he also won the New Hampshire Stroke Play Championship that same year.

Sadly, Hanover High golf has declined of late. A storied program with 20 state titles and five runner-up finishes since 1981, the Bears captured five crowns between 2011-17 but haven’t won since that stretch ended. Hanover finished ninth at the division team championships each of the last two seasons.

The Bears’ roster has diminished roughly by half during the past four years, the erosion seemingly spurred by Dartmouth College’s 2020 closing of Hanover Country Club. Generations of Hanover youngsters spent their summers on the course, not only tolerated but embraced by its pros and membership, which had the foresight to see how their largesse grew the sport.

Rising senior Dylan Jopp was one of those fortunate youngsters and recalls Hanover fielding an eight-man varsity and a JV of the same size when he was a freshman. He bounced between the two levels, using the lower ranks to prepare himself for what will be a three-year varsity career. Now, he’s the lone senior returnee and juniors Andrew Cahoon and Adam Goodney are the only others back from last season after five players graduated.

“My freshman year, we came close to winning the state JV tournament,” Jopp said. “Little did I know what was to come. Our team has dropped off, and it seems like the (HCC) closing is what’s piloted the decline.”

Said Pelletier: “Hanover Country Club treated kids better than any course around, and that’s why it was so hard when the college left it go. Their parents could drop them off at 7:30 in the morning and pick them up at 4. They could go to clinics and camps there and get tips from older members.”

Hanover athletic director Megan Sobel said 10 players are currently signed up for golf. Teams traditionally play eight and use their top five scores at matches. The Bears will host what will probably be their lone “home” match at Lake Morey on Aug. 25. Two other events with that designation will likely to be moved to opponents’ courses.

Hanover often used Quechee as its home course the past two years, but with Temple stepping down, that opportunity closed. The private club’s board felt that a third high school team on site, joining Hartford and Mid Vermont Christian, was too much, Temple said.

Pelletier’s known as an emotional player but insists he’s dialed his personality back. It looks like he’ll need poise and patience in his new gig.

“I was pretty fiery around the course in high school and college, but I’ve mellowed out the last three or four years,” Pelletier said. “Working under John Donnelly was the best thing for that. He had such a good way to approach kids about corrections.”

If Hanover can add two or three more reliable scorers to its three returnees, it should be competitive. Pelletier realizes, however, that he may be teaching golf from the ground up to the back half of his roster. Preseason practices commence Aug. 15 and will be conducted at a variety of regional sites.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out, because I have no idea of the players’ talents,” Pelletier said. “It might be one of those years where we just work on the range. We can’t always worry about what kids at other schools are shooting.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.




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