Westlake takes pride in hosting golf event

High school players are tested on Jackson course


The Westlake Golf and Country Club, Jackson, was proud to host the recent Ocean County Golf Championships that tested the skills of golfers from 18 high schools in the county. The Westlake Golf and Country Club, Jackson, was proud to host the recent Ocean County Golf Championships that tested the skills of golfers from 18 high schools in the county. JACKSON — The Westlake Golf and Country Club in Jackson played host to the Ocean County Championships on April 19, as golfers from 18 high schools competed for the county title.

Perfect weather greeted golfers who took the challenge of playing the 5,672-yard Westlake course. It marked the first time that the county golf event for high school linksters was held at Westlake.

Tournament director Rich Handchen noted that his father, Harold Handchen, started the event in the 1970s. Harold Handchen was the athletic director and golf coach at Brick Township High School.

Handchen, who is the athletic director at Brick Township High School, said the county tournament rotates courses.

“We’ve played it at Eagle Ridge and Woodlake, and we were lucky enough to get Westlake this year, with the help of Ralph Carretta, a retired athletic director from Jackson, and Kevin Maciorowski, the head pro here,” said Handchen. “They have been very kind and have welcomed us. Next year we are going to have the Ocean County girls tournament here.”

In the April 19 event, 88 golfers representing 18 schools teed off.

“It’s a tough golf course,” Handchen said. “It’s not a long course, but there are a lot of water [traps], a lot of hazards and a lot of [places to go] out of bounds. The kids will have to keep the ball in play and be able to handle the greens. [Then,] they will be able to score well.”

When asked about the future of the tournament in relation to the cuts in state aid to schools, Handchen said teams may have to raise funds and pay for all kinds of tournaments in the future.

Maciorowski said he believed the high school golfers would enjoy playing on the Westlake course.

“It’s not long, but it is difficult,” he said. “There are 21 ponds in total. It’s a little piece of Florida dropped in Jackson, New Jersey,” said Maciorowski.

Joe Pisani, president, Westlake Master Association, said the tournament is a terrific event for the youth of Ocean County and he said the association was very pleased to host the competition.

“It’s wonderful to see all these young people here with their coaches. We don’t get an opportunity to do that very often. They are the future of our society and future pro athletes as well,” he said.

The golfers seemed to enjoy the opportunity of tackling the Westlake layout.

Matthew Askew of Lakewood High School finished with a round of 82. Askew has been playing golf since he was 4 years old and said he loves everything about the sport.

“It’s challenging and you have to use your mind and strength,” he said. “It’s fun and it’s what I love to do.”

Askew said he never played the Westlake course before and said it was challenging, especially since there were a lot of water hazards.

Askew was joined on the Lakewood team by Max Cooke, Chris Cooke and Scott Richmond. The Piners are coached by Gregg Patterson, who is a guidance counselor at Jackson Liberty High School.

Jackson Memorial High School’s Jake Murgio finished second with a round of 79 and the Jaguars’ Justin Lee finished seventh with a round of 83.

Lee, a junior, said this is his third year playing golf. When asked why he enjoys playing on the golf team, Lee replied, “because it’s free.”

The Jackson Memorial team is coached by Drew Gibson.

New Egypt High School golfer Alex Hampson said he just started playing golf last year.

“To get good at it, you always have to keep at it and keep practicing,” he said.

The Warriors are coached by Glenn Knigge.

Zac Koerver of Jackson Liberty High School, said, “The course is very challenging, because there is a lot of water. Every shot here is a different shot.”

Koerver said he has been playing since his freshman year and said the sport is pretty hard to learn. He said a golfer can always learn something new.

“It’s a great sport, and I plan to keep on doing it,” he said.

The Jackson Liberty golf team is coached by Frank Gianetti.