By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
As members of the Cascade boys golf team practiced their putting on a recent overcast day at Walter E. Hall Golf Course, Bruins head coach J.D. McDonald called over sophomore Broderek Hudson to meet a young player who was contemplating joining the team.
Hudson greeted the young man and then spent the next few minutes chatting with him about the team and the game of golf as they both putted.
The situation was interesting because just a year ago it was Hudson who was questioning whether or not he, as an inexperienced freshman, even belonged on the team — or a golf course for that matter. But after an up-and-down freshman season, the rookie has become the veteran.
A year ago after the first round of qualifying, McDonald saw a dejected Hudson sitting in the parking lot with his head down. The diminutive freshman had just got done shooting an 84 and was pretty much done with the game. That’s 84, not over 18 holes, but nine.
“I talked to him after that round and he was like ‘It was bad. It’s bad,’” McDonald said.
But McDonald recognized in Hudson that quality that any athlete must have: He cared. So McDonald told Hudson to not overthink it and to just go out there and play. He advised him to take just one practice swing for his entire round the next day and see what happened.
Not that quitting was ever really an option for Hudson, who has golfing in his blood courtesy his grandfather Dave, a longtime member of Everett Golf and Country Club, and his dad, Derek.
“After the first day I got home and my mom asked how it was and I told her: ‘Golf is not my sport and I don’t want to play this anymore,’” Hudson said. “But my Mom was like, ‘Well I paid that $100 sports fee so you’re going to go play,’ so I kind of had to come back out.”
Hudson listened to both his mom and coach McDonald. The next day he stopped overthinking and just hit the ball, shaving 13 strokes off his score. Hudson took 11 more strokes off his score in the final round, affectively taking 24 strokes off his scorecard in a matter of 48 hours.
“I saw how much better he got in a short amount of time and I said even though he’s got the highest overall average he’s willing to listen to instruction and apply it and that’s why I kept him over guys with better scores,” McDonald said.
Hudson continued to get better as the season progressed and was eventually voted the Most Improved Player by his teammates and earning himself a year’s worth of range balls at the Rockin M Barbecue and Driving Range. He ended the season shooting in the mid-to-low 50s and excited about the next year.
“Looking back and seeing how much I improved over a short period of time showed me that I could improve even more,” Hudson said.
One of Hudson’s biggest fans, his grandfather Dave, recently passed away after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for three years. Even after the disease robbed his grandfather of his ability to swing a club, he would watch Broderek swing and give him advice on how to play the game he loved.
“I got the feeling he wanted to play but with me playing it was a way for him to experience the game,” Broderek said.
But Dave Hudson passed on more than just advice, eventually giving his grandson his clubs. That gesture really hit Broderek after his grandfather’s death last month.
“The first day when I came back (after the funeral) my mom said to me when she dropped me off ‘He’ll be with you today, so hopefully you play well,’” Broderek said. “I shot one of the lowest rounds I’ve ever shot so it was cool to think he was right there helping me out with my swing.”
This season Hudson’s goal was to make varsity and earlier this month McDonald had the pleasure of telling the sophomore, who is now shooting in the mid-to-high 40s, he had made it.
“Kids like Broderek are why I do this,” McDonald said of coaching. “He’s not going to win the state championship, but he’s a young man learning about other things than just golf.”
Despite making varsity, Hudson knows he’s not done yet.
“It’s stressful playing (on varsity) because they are so good and you want to be as good as them, but you know it’s going to take time to get there,” Hudson said.
If the past is any indication he’s well on his way.