- October 29, 2015
OCOEE — David Victor usually has Cody Beesley’s story at the ready.
Whether he’s scouring the campus at Ocoee High School, looking to recruit new athletes to participate on the boys golf team he has coached for four years, or just chatting with other golf coaches and instructors, Victor is always ready with the details of the program’s biggest success story.
Through Victor’s instruction and Beesley’s hard work and dedication, a sophomore that had not touched a golf club for nearly seven years has evolved into a senior that has cut roughly 20 strokes from from his nine-hole average. Beesley, who shot in the low 70s to high 60s per nine holes two years ago, is now shooting the low 50s regularly and aiming at breaking into the mid-40s.
It’s turned into a real win-win situation for the coach-player combination.
Beesley, who from age 8 to 15 was focused almost solely on football — playing for the Ocoee Bulldogs at the Pop Warner level and as a freshman for the Knights’ junior varsity team on campus — has a new sport he can take with him beyond his graduation in the spring.
As for Victor, coaching a program where players don’t usually come in with a refined golf background and are often just looking to get involved on a sports team, having a role model of sorts has been quite the plus.
“It has been extremely helpful, not only for him (Beesley) but for the program, as well, getting other kids to follow in his steps,” Victor said. “We have a young group this year, he’s our lone senior on the team.
“(The underclassmen) look at him and say, ‘Hey, if I put forth the same type of effort, then, in a couple years, I can be as competitive, or even better, than where he’s at,’” he said.
Beesley says he still loves football but grew disenchanted with the demands of training for the game at the high school level. When Victor filled in as a long-term substitute for one of his classes during his freshman year, Beesley said he knew he wanted to become a part of Victor’s program.
“I liked coach — Coach Victor is pretty cool,” Beesley said.
Beesley, who played the game a little when he was younger until about age 8, says he also likes the atmosphere on the golf course, from being in a natural setting and feeling the breeze to talking it up with his teammates and opponents.
Ocoee went 3-9-1 in 2013 and, although it figures to be an improved team in 2014, the pursuit of a state championship probably is not in the cards for the Knights — not that it bothers Beesley or his teammates much.
The Ocoee boys team has an evident rapport with one another and, more so than winning matches, the team’s golfers seem to enjoy each other’s company and seeing one another improve with each passing day.
“It really motivates you when you see your team getting better and especially yourself getting better, because you know you’re putting in work,” Beesley said. “I like the ‘team’ view (of golf) better.
“It’s more of (getting together and having fun),” he said. “We like to have a lot of fun, but we do like to take golf seriously. When we go out, we do try to play to win, obviously, but we just have a lot of fun.”
Beesley’s hopes for the Knights this season include going .500, and Ocoee is off to a 1-1 start through two matches.
Whether they achieve that goal, it’s a good bet that Beesley’s demeanor won’t change much. Victor said one of the senior golfer’s best qualities is his even-keel.
“He is the most laid-back individual I think I’ve ever met,” Victor said. “Even when he does get flustered, it’s hard for you to tell. In this sport it’s very important that you have those kind of qualities.”
It’s that quality about Beesley, and his ability to relate to all of his teammates, that led Victor to naming him as one of his captains. The duty of being captain during his final year with the program is a privilege that Beesley sees as an honor.
“Coming from basically nothing to something … this being my first captainship on a team and it being my last year, it’s that much more special,” Beesley said.
Standing 6-foot-2, part of Beesley’s ability to take to the game so quickly comes from his athletic build. Victor said that, should the senior choose to continue playing throughout his life after high school, he will continue to improve and has a high ceiling.
“He’s an athletic individual,” Victor said. “As a golfer, he has a very easy swing. His height and his wingspan make him, if he continues to play the game, someone who can become very, very good.”
No matter how long he continues to enjoy the game, though, he can still claim the title of his coach’s biggest success story — at least for now.
“When he started his sophomore year he was a legit beginner,” Victor said with pride. “In the course of the three years he has improved immensely.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected]