Kevin Godart didn’t think there was any pressure on him to become the top golfer on the perennially powerful Delbarton golf squad, even after the graduation of John Voetsch, the 2012 All Daily Record Golfer of the Year.
“I just wanted to stay consistent,” Godart said. “I knew I had to step up a little with John gone (to Vanderbilt). If I had to fill his role, then that was fine. But I had some high scores in tournaments and I was never consistent in those tournaments.”
So in the offseason, Godart went to work.
“I played with some older guys and I took a lot of lessons,” Godart said. “I worked harder in the fall and in the winter. I always played. It didn’t matter what the weather was. I was out there in 20 degree temperature with a face mask and goggles. My friends and I went out all the time, no matter what, playing a lot of three club challenges.”
Godart, who is a member of the Ridgewood Country Club in Bergen County, also finished second last fall in the club championships — and Ridgewood Country Club’s championship was once won three times by the club’s former professional, a guy by the name of Byron Nelson.
“That was the start of my confidence,” Godart said. “I felt good about my swing.”
Godart also did a lot of training in the offseason.
“I did a lot of flexibility stuff,” Godart said. “I wanted to get stronger. I had a goal in mind. I wanted to win a tournament. I didn’t have a specific one in mind. I just wanted to win one.”
When the high school season was about to tee off, Delbarton head coach Sean Flanagan saw a significant change in Godart.
“He just had so much more confidence,” Flanagan said. “He started to believe he could do it. I think playing so well in the Ridgewood club championship gave him a tremendous amount of confidence and gave him a sense that he could go out and play with the big boys. He’s always had a great golf swing and was always consistent. But I think this light just went off and he knew he could do it.”
Godart set a goal to win one tournament championship for his senior year. Well, he got two.
At the Morris County Championships in April, Godart shot a blistering round of 71 to finish in a tie with Evan Quinn of Morristown, then defeated Quinn in a one-hole playoff to earn the county title.
Then, in May, Godart shot a 74 to capture the gold medal at the NJSIAA Non-Public A North state sectionals in perhaps the toughest sectional in the entire state.
Godart shot a 78 at the Tournament of Champions at the Hopewell Valley Golf Course to finish among the top 35 there.
For doubling his preseason goal of winning one tournament, Godart has been selected as the 2013 All Daily Record Golfer of the Year.
Flanagan just likes Godart’s demeanor and approach.
“He’s very humble and very unassuming,” Flanagan said. “He’s definitely not cocky and not a braggart. He’s been the consummate team player for us for the last three years. Most of the year, he would play No. 3 in tournaments, but he didn’t care. He just went out there and played great golf all year long.”
Flanagan said that Godart played to 1.3 strokes over par all season long.
“That’s the mark of his consistency,” Flanagan said. “He had some great numbers.”
Godart said that he really wasn’t shocked that he emerged from the pack this season.
“It’s definitely satisfying,” Godart said. “But it didn’t surprise me. I might have surprised others, but I had a good amount of confidence coming into the season. All the hard work definitely paid off.”
Godart is headed to Colgate University to play golf and major in economics and computer science.
“I always knew that I had it in me,” Godart said. “All the parts of my game clicked at the same time. I definitely improved with my irons, especially my long irons. My putting was better as well.”
Godart hopes that his confidence continues through the summer and into college.
“It definitely helps a lot that I know I can throw up a low score under pressure,” Godart said. “But there is a big difference when you’re playing for fun than in tough competition. The next step would be to do it consistently on the college level.”
Flanagan likes when his golfers are considered the best in the area.
“There is something special about being named the Golfer of the Year,” said Flanagan, who has now coached three golfers to earn the distinction, namely Ryan Harpster (2009), John Voetsch (2012) and now Godart. “If someone would have told me Kevin would be the Golfer of the Year in preseason, it would have caught me a little off-guard. I always knew he was a strong golfer, but he definitely overachieved and exceeded any preseason expectations. I’m just happy he had such a great year.”