Andover Golf Head Coaches Brian Faulk ’00 and Christopher Odden have been around the game for the majority of their lives. The two have led Andover to a 4-2-2 record against stiff competition this year.
Faulk grew up in a golf family. His father played collegiately at Bowling Green State University. After playing on the Andover golf team for four years and winning two Kazikas Awards in that span, Faulk took a hiatus from competitive golf while at Stanford University.
Faulk refines his game by playing in the occasional tournament. In an email to The Phillipian, Faulk wrote, “I still play in amateur tournaments from time to time and regularly in the summer at Indian Ridge Country Club.”
Odden was the sole Head Coach before Faulk joined the coaching staff in 2008. “Coach Odden knows the league inside out. Just because he’s been coaching for so long, he knows a lot about the courses in the area, and his experience helps us out a lot,” said three-year player Peter Hahn ’16.
As players, Odden and Faulk differ. This, however, does not affect their coaching. Captain Tyler Tsay ’15 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “They’re similar in that they dedicate themselves to the same areas of golf. For instance, they know the mechanics of match play like the backs of their hands. However, they approach the game in different ways. While Coach Odden reinforces mechanics, Coach Faulk plays more by feel.“
Odden and Faulk both know that golf is an individual sport, but their combined experience allows them to impart valuable lessons in other aspects of the game.
Faulk said, “I suspect that most of the best golfers probably do not need my help to perfect their swing. I work on course management skills and decision making with all of the golfers, but especially those at the bottom of our lineup who may not have as much competitive experience.”
Having more than one coach is often an advantage. Each coach can follow certain players around, and give them tips when they deem it necessary. Additionally, their mutual respect allows them to make more objective decisions for the benefit of the team. Tsay said, “The two balance each other out, especially when the judgment of one coach might be clouded at times.”
Ultimately, the coaches stress not only learning the game of golf, but also applying some of the lessons of the game outside the course.
Faulk said, “I hope that my players appreciate the wonderful community that is Andover Golf. Although we want to win, we also want them to have fun and exhibit good sportsmanship and integrity at all times. We want them to carry these lessons forward as they move on to college.”
Editor’s Note: Peter Hahn ’16 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.