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Spartans Golf
Talbott recharged 100%

Rob Talbott had to recharge his golf battery.

That meant taking a roughly five-month hiatus from the sport.

“I basically put the clubs in the closet for the winter, so I haven’t played that much,” the Webb School of Knoxville rising senior said. “That was by choice; I needed a break, I was getting burned out last year.

“I started thinking of it more as work, and stopped enjoying the game,” he added.

Putting the clubs down right after a sixth place finish in the Division II-A state tournament last October, “I got back into it in early March,” said Talbott, who’ll battle teammate Jack Smith, 2010 region champ and top 10 Division II-A state finisher, for Webb’s No. 1 player spot.

“It worked 100 percent,” Talbott added. “I’ve started to enjoy it again, I’ve wanted to go out and play more.”

Moreover, Talbott said he was “only a little bit” worried about rust forming on his game during the five-month layoff. “I knew I could get that back in a decent amount of time,” he said. “And I have, for sure.”

Among his top efforts of late, “I played well in the Willow Creek Invitational,” Talbott said. “And I played in a tournament in Nashville, the Old Fort Invitational, where I finished fifth and shot the lowest round I’ve shot ever in a tournament. … My second day I shot a 68 [4-under-par].”

Talbott, the Spartans’ only senior, said his putting has “improved a lot” since last high school season.

“I’ve changed putters, and changed my entire stroke,” he said. “I wasn’t hitting the putt correctly, it wasn’t coming off the face. … It would come off the heel of the club, and it would hook back to where I was trying to get the line, so it was impossible to make anything.

“This year it’s coming off square off the putter head,” Talbott added. “It’s holding the line. … The [stroke] path is more straight back, straight through.”

Talbott said his father, Bob Talbott, caught the putting stroke mistake. “He’s the one who helped me, really, get comfortable with it,” Rob said.

Helping his putting is a new Scotty Cameron putter, “and it’s got a different grip on it, I think it’s a winn grip. It’s softer, it feels more comfortable to me,” Talbott said.

The strength of Rob’s game, he said, “Is probably my driver. I don’t hit it that far, probably 285 to 295[yards], but I normally hit the fairway. I hit it pretty straight.”

Rob’s fairway woods, driver and wedges are Titleist, “and my hybrid’s a King Cobra and my irons are King Cobras,” he said.

His ball of choice is Titleist Pro V-1. “It’s always been the right ball for me; distance, control on the greens. It’s always been the best.”

As for Webb’s boys team, “We’ve got a very good team returning and a very good chance to do some good in the state tournament,” said Spartans head coach Ryan Greer.

Greer said Talbott and Smith, a junior, could alternate as No. 1 Spartans. Junior Blake Bodie holds down the No. 3 spot.

“We bring back guys who are now experienced, who have played in the state tournament for two years,” Greer added.

Grant Bodie, Blake’s brother, is out for several weeks with a back injury.

Rob said he’s no fan of Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester, site of this year’s TSSAA state tournaments, based on his play there in last year’s state tourney.

“That one gave me a little trouble last year,” he said. “It’s a different type of lay-out, it not something I’m really used to. … It’s hard for me. … It’s not in the best shape in the world.”


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