Even though Ryan Green had never won the golfer of the year award, he had a pretty good idea of what it meant to carry the title of best player in the county.
The Edgewood senior knew because he spent his first three years with the Warriors golf program taking notes from a few players that had previously won the award — namely teammate Dylan Fitchet, a 2019 Edgewood graduate and Austin Jacobs, a 2018 Jefferson graduate.
With those players departed, Green knew it was his year to not only shine above the others, but walk with the same integrity and character those before him.
Green, a Division II district qualifier in the fall, was selected the 2019 Ashtabula County Boys Golfer of the year.
Winning the award was a goal, not only to be recognized for his play, but associated with those that had won the award before him.
“The past three years I’ve always looked up to those who have won player of the year, Dylan two of the last three years, and Austin Jacobs the other year,” Green said. “Just their demeanor and their play on the course and how they treated the game. It wasn’t just a sport, it was what made them who they were as a people and how they acted towards others. They got that from on the golf course.”
Green also credited Fitchet for turning him onto golf about the time they hit junior high.
“We were running cross country together in seventh grade,” Green said. “One day after practice, he texted me, ‘Let’s go to the golf course.”’ That’s where it all started.
That may have been where it started, but getting to a point where he could consistently shoot a round of par or better took a lot of work.
“It took a lot of time and a lot of work on and off the course at the range working with my swing coach,” Green said. “You can’t go out there and expect to shoot low everytime. You have to go out there with a purpose when you’re practicing as a player.”
Green said where he improved the most from last year to this was his short game. But even more valuable the mental toughness he picked up.
“Dylan really taught me how to handle pressure,” he said. “He helped me work on my shot, when I got in trouble, how to get out of it and avoid those high numbers. The more high number you can avoid, the better your score is going to be and the better golfer you’re going to be.”
High numbers were something he avoided, evidenced by the end of the season.
Shooting an average round of just under 39, Green started in early August with a win at the Bronko Invitational at Hemlock Springs Golf Club, followed the next day by taking second at the Karl Pearson Invitational at Maple Ridge.
He finished second in the Chagrin Valley Conference preseason tournament at Chardon Lakes Golf Course in August. In September at Quail Hollow, Green captured first place in the CVC Valley Division postseason tournament with a 75, winning by four shots.
Green went on to take second in the Division II sectional meet and was a district qualifier, which was another goal.
Aside from winning Ashtabula County Player of the year, he also walked away with the CVC Most Valuable Golfer Award.
Edgewood coach Chris Juncker said as the season went, Green got stronger each time out. The maturity he gained was also evident.
“You could see him really focusing on improving,” Juncker said. “In year’s past, he would get frustrated and show it out on the course. This year, he did a much better job of staying calm and keeping things within himself.”
He didn’t keep everything within himself, though. Just as he had learned from those ahead of him, Green was eager to share his knowledge.
“The one thing about Ryan is he wasn’t afraid to help other kids get better, too,” the coach said. “He would be struggling with his putting, but he’d step away from putting at practice to go help someone else. He would always put others first.”
For Green, that is just what being county player of the year is all about.
“In order for your team to be successful, everybody on the team needs to have strengths,” he said. “I was always fine with stepping away to help someone get better with that part of their game.”
And being named the second player from Edgewood in as many years to win the award is a big deal as well.
“It means a lot,” Green said. “Dylan is off at Bowling Green now playing college golf right now. To be able to follow up, and be able to be player of the year behind him and continue that legacy, that means a lot to me.”