Merrimack native feeling good on the golf course

By GEORGE SCIONE

Staff Writer

Merrimack native Josh Chamberlain is feeling good this spring.

The New Boston resident and member of Goffstown’s Stonebridge Country Club is ready to compete for some New Hampshire Golf Association titles this summer.

"This is the best time of the year," Chamberlain said. "If you’re a golfer this is what you wait six months for – to get out there and see the guys and start hitting the ball again and have some fun."

But it’s more than fun for Chamberlain. He’s a competitive guy, who over the past few years hasn’t been able to really focus as much on his golf game as he’d like.

This year, he’s getting serious.

"I’ve been working with a pro," said Chamberlain, who has a couple NHGA titles to his credit as 2009 Mid-Am champion and 2013 Four-Ball champion along with teammate Ryan Kohler. "The last couple of years have been a struggle for me as far as tournaments go. I needed a trained eye. So I went to the best pro I know."

For Chamberlain, that meant working with Crotched Mountain Gold Club’s Matt Bradbury.

"If you want somebody to really dig in and find your flaws and help you correct them, Matt’s the guy to go to," Chamberlain said. "He’s the first guy I go to for training and advice."

Training and advice that Chamberlain hopes will go a long way this golf season. His goal is to be in the top tier of every championship event leaderboard.

That’s right, every championship event.

"I’ve signed up for every single one," Chamberlain said. "I’m also going to a U.S. Am qualifier and U.S. Mid-Am qualifier this year.

"I knew my game wasn’t were it needed to be. This year I feel like I can at least compete and challenge for the top spot at a few events."

That includes the 22-player field for the NHGA Players Invitational (36-hole stroke play event) on Saturday and Sunday at Baker Hill Golf Club in Newbury.

He’ll be teeing off at 7:40 a.m. along with Green Meadow Golf Club member Josh Kibbe and Bretwood Golf Course member Cameron Salo.

Also in the field is Chamberlain’s Four-Ball teammate. Kohler, who golfs out of Hooper Golf Club in Walpole, tees off at 7:20 along with Damon Salo (Bretwood Golf Course) and Josh LaCasse (Pembroke Pines Country Club).

The next championship event will be the Four-Ball on June 11 (at Rochester Country Club) and June 12 (at Owl’s Nest Golf Club in Thornton). Chamberlain and Kohler are ready.

They already had a practice session as the runner-up duo at the Spring Four-Ball event at Amherst Country Club on May 15. Tied at 2-under par with Ryan Lebrun and Matt Burroughs through 18 holes, Chamberlain and Kohler lost in two playoff holes.

"It probably helps that we’re good friends," Chamberlain said of pairing with Kohler. "We have a lot of fun and that keeps it relaxed out there in the middle of competition.

"Golf is a mental game. Our personalities mesh well and we keep it light. That goes a long way if you start to lose your way. You know you have a partner that can set you back on the right path and get you hitting the greens again."

That’s still a week away, so for now the focus is on this weekend’s event.

"I’m feeling good about my game right now," Chamberlain said. "Working with Matt has help my game and my confidence. I think it will be a great summer."