One shot at a time.
A sound pre-shot routine let Quakertown senior Brady Gallagher overcome a rough start at the Oct. 3 Suburban One League Championships at Warminster’s Five Ponds Golf Club.
“A pre-shot routine sounds simple but it is hard to do in the moment after a bad hole. The next tee shot is the reset,” Gallagher said. “A lot of people make a mistake, change their pre-shot routine and it leads to another mistake. It piles up.
“Part of my prep in the past year, which changed from my freshman and sophomore year and I practice as much as golf, is the mental side,” Gallagher continued. “Focus and patience.”
Gallagher shot 2-over-par in the first three holes, but settled down to card a 1-under the rest of the way. His 1-over-par 72 tied him with Springfield (M)’s Adam Fluehr for the SOL title. The score also gave Gallagher SOL Liberty first-place honors.
“At SOLs, it was not the best start but I stayed super patient the whole time. I knew my game was there,” Gallagher remembered. “I just needed an opportunity. It took a little while, since I didn’t make my first birdie until 12. But I knew if I kept hitting greens and fairways, the birdies would come.
“One of the hardest things I struggled with was patience,” Gallagher shared. “You can be out there for five hours. It’s hard to stay patient because you want it to happen right away. But I flushed out those two bogeys and focused shot by shot.”
“His mental game, 100%, improved the most this year,” noted Quakertown coach Steve Oltman. “He was able to maintain his composure throughout rounds while in the past, as what happens to most golfers, it might have snowballed. If Brady has a bad hole, he can keep grinding.
“I believe 15 of his 17 match rounds were 38 or better. He was very consistent,” Oltman concluded.
The title gave Gallagher a piece of history: he became the first Panther to win the SOL golf title. It also reflected a nine-shot improvement from the 2022 SOL at Five Ponds, when Gallagher tied for 19th place.
“The summer tournaments I play in are individual,” Gallagher said. “I felt like this was something bigger, for my school. It brought a lot of attention to Quakertown and hopefully gives them a better reputation in the future. I thought that was the coolest part.”
At districts one week after the SOL, Gallagher finished fourth among all SOL 3A entrants and 22nd out of 104 overall players. His two-day 11-over-par at Turtle Creek Golf Course missed qualifying for states by just two strokes.
“I think Brady’s biggest strength is his overall ball striking ability,” Oltman shared. “He has excellent distance control and excellent distance overall. He has worked really, really hard on that and he has had a lot more success.
Gallagher got into the game in late elementary school when his father stumbled on a special deal for clubs and lessons at Golf Galaxy. John Suter, the initial teacher, still works as Gallagher’s swing coach.
“I really didn’t start to get into golf until after my freshman year,” Gallagher admitted. “I also played basketball and track. It was after freshman year when I realized that golf was really what I wanted to do in high school and college.”
Gallagher, also a first team All-Liberty selection in 2022, spurs a budding Quakertown golf program. In 2021, Nick Joyce became the first Panther to qualify for states. DeSales’ Andrew Saglimbeni recently earned the MAC Freedom Golfer of the Week by winning a tournament at Saucon Valley Country Club. Ty Wilkin is a freshman on Bloomsburg’s golf team. Gallagher’s victory shattered another glass ceiling.
Oltman feels that Quakertown – and golf in general – benefited from the “Covid bump”: People could be outside having socially distant fun.
“Where we might have engaged more people is that we were open to anybody coming out. It didn’t matter if you were a brand new player or experienced like Brady,” Oltman explained. “We would take you on and train you. In our program, we don’t cut anybody.”
Oltman’s biggest point of pride is that Quakertown has won the Sportsmanship Award for the SOL Liberty for four straight years. “It shows that you play the game, you know how to treat people right and the Golden Rule.”
Quakertown has both a developmental and competitive squad. Four players from the developmental squad last year made the competitive squad this year. “The program is growing from within,” Oltman pointed out.
Gallagher aspires to play high level collegiate golf. He has elevated his game from good to great this fall, which has broadened his options.
Just as staying patient on the course has been a recipe for good scores, Gallagher knows the same formula will pay off in the right college program.