Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Kimball native Heeg named Observer Athlete of the Year


Stephen McKay - Sidney Sun Telegraph

Henry Heeg rolls his putt during the Panhandle Junior Golf Tour. This stop on the tour was at Hillside Golf Course in Sidney on June 27. Heeg finished in a tie for first in his age group.

Henry Heeg, who will kick off his senior year at the Kimball Jr./Sr. High School this fall, has proven to be a vital component for the Kimball golf program this past year.

Entering into the season after losing several of the seniors who had collectively carried the weight of the golf squad the previous year, Heeg knew that there would be many struggles along the way.

“There are a lot of ‘ifs’,” Heeg said at the start of the season.

However, Heeg wasn’t giving up, and through his hard work on the course, he was able to walk away with second place at Districts and break in to the top 40 at the Class C State competition at the Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, placing 21st overall in the competition with a final score of 169.

“It was an amazing experience. It was fun to go back East and see a new side of Nebraska that you really don’t get out here,” Heeg said.

Though he ended the year better than expected, he admits that this past ‘rebuilding’ season wasn’t ideal.

“It was a good season given the circumstances. It kind of went to a point where it was kind of more on my shoulders than the rest of the team,” Heeg said.

However, Heeg already has high hopes for the next season, setting his sights on another return to state competitions.

“Next season I’m expecting a more consistent year and going to state again and placing well there. It’s just a matter of playing my best on the day that I need to,” Heeg said.

Heeg, who says that his love of the sport came from watching his grandfather play when he was a child, is already starting to look past this season and piece together his desire for a career into his college years.

“I’ve talked to a couple of colleges here and there about maybe going for a squad. Once the final high school season gets over, I’ll kind of narrow it down and see where I’d like to go,” Heeg said.

Though he doesn’t have a specific city or college in mind, Heeg has certainly started to pin down the kind of environment he would like to continue his career in.

“I’d like to go to a school that has nice weather year around instead of having the harsh winters where you can’t play for a couple months at a time. It’d be nice to go to a team that has a fall and spring golf team where you can play for the great majority of the year,” Heeg said.

Heeg, who was also part of the Longhorns basketball team that went to state this past season, prefers the individual aspect of stepping onto the course to practice his game on his own time to stepping on to the court and working with the physicality of a team practice.

“In golf, it’s always your own time. You go out and do your own thing. It’s much more of an individual thing than basketball where you have to work out. With golf, it’s just more of a mental game,” Heeg said.

Though Heeg tries to make it out to the course to practice every day, it is not just to improve his skill so that he can progress further into college squads or out of an obligation to his team. Rather, for Heeg, golf is a passion that simply puts him at ease, helps him clear his head, and simply gives him peace.

“It’s what I do when I’m not happy. It’s something that I do when I’m happy. It’s something that makes me feel like I’m doing what I should be doing. It’s how I get away from everything,” Heeg said.


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