SNOHOMISH — Growing up on a golf course in Port Orchard, on the Kitsap Peninsula, Luke Kuna learned to like playing in bad weather.
“My buddies and I would go onto the course and play in rain, snow or whatever,” he said.
As Kuna grew up, moved with his family to Snohomish before his freshman year and began playing more competitive golf, he came to wear his ability to play well in bad weather as a badge of honor, an advantage he could exploit against his opponents.
“A lot of people don’t like playing in the rain,” the Snohomish junior said. “I don’t mind it, and my length off the tee helps me have success in bad weather.”
At the Class 4A state tournament last May at Camas Meadows, Kuna fired a 70 in the rain to place second heading into the second and final day of action.
Kuna said the pressure of playing in the last group with the tournament leaders got to him a bit on Day 2, and he made a few mistakes that resulted in a 79. He finished the event tied for 10th.
“I thought of myself as a state competitor, but after the state tournament last year, I realized that I could play with the best players in 4A,” Kuna said.
Kuna, who learned to play from his mother, Lori, an avid recreational golfer when she and Luke’s father lived in North Carolina before Luke was born, has a solid all-around game and an uncomplicated swing that rarely gets out of whack.
“Not a lot of things go wrong with his swing. It’s simple and powerful,” Snohomish boys coach Joe Mutcheson said. “It’s an easily repeatable motion.”
Kuna spent the offseason playing in Washington Junior Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association events against other top prep golfers from around the state, but also played in the Snohomish County Amateur Championship and Bremerton City Amateur against older competitors.
“I got great experience, and advice also,” Kuna said.
Kuna also worked in the weight room to maintain his length off the tee, and Mutcheson said his team constantly works on putting and chipping.
“He’s always working on improving his short game, and that can make the difference between scores in the postseason,” Mutcheson said.
This year’s Class 4A boys state tournament will be played at The Creek at Qualchan in Spokane, so rain is unlikely to be in the forecast on May 27-28.
But Kuna is poised to stay near the top of the leaderboard this time around.