Torrey Pines golfer a quick study

Aaron Strockis
Aaron Strockis

By Gideon Rubin

Aaron Strockis may not be Torrey Pines High’s most talented  golfer, and he’s definitely not the most experienced.

But it’s hard to imagine anybody on the team who can match his determination.

Strockis was a latecomer to the sport. He didn’t even start taking lessons until he was in eighth grade, when he got swept up in the excitement surrounding Torrey Pines Golf Course playing host to the 2008 U.S. Open.

He took his energy, enthusiasm, and  some of the athletic skill he developed playing Little League to his new venture.

“The determination is incredible,” Drake said. “He set a goal for himself and the goal wasn’t just to make the team, the goal was to make the postseason and he did everything he could do to achieve it.”

With less than a year of lessons under his belt, Strockis went out for the intensely competitive Falcons team his freshman year and missed the cut by one stroke.

He continued working on his game but again missed the cut by the same margin his sophomore year.

“You have to draw the line somewhere and, unfortunately, he was on the other side of the line,” Torrey Pines coach Chris Drake said.

Earlier this year, Strockis didn’t just cross the line, he obliterated it.

On a team of over 20 golfers, he surpassed more established teammates, some of whom have since committed to Division I colleges, on his way to becoming among the top six golfers on one of the state’s most perennially dominant programs.

Strockis believes his baseball background benefitted his golf game.

“Some of the athletic moves are similar,” Strockis said. “It was an easier transition for me, comparatively speaking, than if I’d played football or soccer or something like that.”

He acknowledged some discouragement at first.

“I tried to keep it in perspective because I knew how talented a team it was,” Strockis said. “I took it as challenge. I just tried to use it to motivate me I guess.”

Strockis’ work ethic and determination earned him the respect of teammates and coaches.

“He’s an incredibly hard worker,” Drake said. “He’s just a great kid.”

Strockis, who’ll be a senior later this year, is hopeful that he’ll land at a Division I college program. He figures to attract interest from college scouts in the coming months and projects to play at the Division I level, Drake said.

“He’s going to be a big contributor next year and he’s going to make some college coach who takes him look like genius,” Drake said.

His status among the team’s top six golfers qualified him for postseason team play. He competed in the state championships at San Gabriel Country Club in June, an event that helped get the unheralded rising star some exposure.

“He’s not super highly ranked and he doesn’t play a lot of junior tournaments, but he’s starting to do more of that,” Drake said.

“Somebody’s going to see him and he’s got a great swing. He’s only going to get better.”

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