Different Strokes: Sosa turns to golf when injury keeps him from soccer field
It was only a year ago when Jesus Sosa, a junior at Quincy High School, stepped onto a golf course for the first time.
The former soccer player, forced to leave the field because of a hip condition, turned to golf as an alternative to the sport he grew up with and loved. What he found on the golf course was a passion for a new sport that was never even on his radar.
Turns out, he also excels at it.
Just last week, in a tournament QHS hosted at Colockum Ridge Golf Course, Sosa scored a team low of 79. That’s a new record for the lowest score shot in his tenure as head coach, said Chris Trevino.
“Jesus worked his way up from our JV team to varsity last year, and this year is one of our best players,” Trevino said. “His progression over the past year has been amazing.”
The son of Oscar and Maria Sosa of Quincy, Sosa is a well-spoken, mature 17-year-old who is enrolled in the Running Start program at Big Bend Community College. It’s his goal to earn his associate degree by the time he graduates from QHS next spring.
Off the golf course, Sosa is planning a career as a financial manager, and he hopes to attend Washington State University or Eastern Washington University. On the golf course, Sosa talks about making a name for himself as a professional Latino golfer. Among his role models are Bill Porter, a Quincy native who went on to become a professional golfer.
“I hope to follow him,” Sosa said of Porter.
It was a hip condition that sidelined Sosa in the eighth grade. At the time, Sosa was having hip pain. He started to limp when he walked. Doctors diagnosed him with SCFE hip, or slipped capital femoral epiphysis. SCFE hip is an unusual disorder of the adolescent hip.
Rather than pursue surgery right away, Sosa and his family decided to see if rest could heal the injury. The normally active teenager suddenly found himself not playing any team sports for two years.
“All your life, you’re this active little boy and then they tell you that you can’t do anything,” he said.
Sosa attempted a return to soccer last spring, but instead the pain returned. That’s when Tracey Treutle, an assistant coach on the boys golf team, invited Sosa to hit some golf balls around. He later gave Sosa a set of used clubs.
“I saw in Jesus a young man who just seemed to understand the game,” Treutle said. “It did seem like he really knew how to swing a club from the very beginning.”
Sosa said he’s always been someone who can pick up new things quickly. But, make no mistake, the fledgling golfer also got to work.
After golf season last year, he started visiting the driving range at Sunny Springs RV park on a regular basis. Employees there would let the dedicated Sosa refill his bucket of balls if he picked them up off the driving range himself. He usually filled that bucket three or four times, Sosa said.
Sosa’s weekly regime meant four days spent on the driving range, a day spent putting and chipping, and a day spent playing on a golf course. He figures he was hitting at least 100 putts a day.
“I dedicated myself to it,” said Sosa, who averaged scores in the 100s last season. This year he’s usually in the mid-80s.
“I’m hoping to break into the 60s,” he said.
Both Trevino and Treutle described Sosa as a focused player.
“He is quite the grinder on the course,” Treutle said. “He really works hard to get the most out of each round. Just last week Jesus shot his first sub-80 round. He was a bit surprised that he did it, but that just goes to show you that he’s always working to stay in the moment on the golf course to complete the task at hand.”
“Jesus’ biggest strength as a golfer is his commitment to improving,” Trevino said. “Jesus has caught the golf bug, so to speak, and works hard every day to improve all aspects of his game. He is a methodical player who plots himself around the course and plays to his strengths. He avoids trouble and big numbers.”
Sosa also has become a leader on a team that’s eager to prove itself.
“Jesus has brought leadership and a new commitment to improvement to our program. He’s a leader by example,” Trevino said. “Players have witnessed his transformation over the past year, and now realize the difference hard work can make.”
As for Sosa, he said he still loves soccer. But his passion is for golf now.
In golf, you will never be perfect; golfers have their off and on days, he said. It’s that chase for the on days that drives him.
“There’s something about how difficult it is that I just want to be better at it,” he said.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org