The Peninsula High School boys golf team is getting a proven teacher as its new head coach.
Russ Bloom, a 1970 graduate of Wilson High School in Tacoma, has returned to the Gig Harbor area after living in California for about 40 years. Bloom has been around the game of golf for about 50 years. He won a state title during his senior season at Wilson and was the low scorer for the team. Bloom also won the Tacoma City Amateur in 1972 and still holds the course record of 60 at Allenmore Golf Course in Tacoma.
Bloom has worked as a golf pro at Rancho Bernardo Golf Club, Bernardo Heights Country Club and the Spring Valley Golf Course, just outside of San Francisco. When Bloom moved back to Washington, he heard about the job opening through a friend and applied.
“I have a lot of good memories playing high school myself,” Bloom said. “Over the years, I’ve taught people of all ages and skill levels. I enjoy teaching young people; I have a passion for that. Kids seem to be a little more enthusiastic. You get all kinds of skill levels.”
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Bloom, 63, hopes to make a positive impact, using the knowledge and experience he’s accumulated during his lifetime around the game.
“My short-term goals would be getting my feet wet and getting involved, learning the program, having a good rapport with the athletes,” Bloom said. “And to have fun. The competition is fun, too. It’s not all about winning and losing. I’ve been around golf for 50 years — I’m not going to tell you I’ve seen everything and know everything, but I’m hopeful I can help in a lot of different ways.”
Bloom said he emphasizes the short game — and not just chipping and putting, but working on a variety of different shots from different angles and lies, from within 100 yards of the hole.
“I don’t teach just one method,” Bloom said. “Just from experience, most people want to work on their full swing. It’s more fun to hit a 300-yard drive or whatever. They should spend at least half of their practice time from 100 yards in. That’s my definition of short game. I think that’s a part of the game that a lot of people don’t spend enough time on.”
Learning how to conquer the game from a strategic standpoint will be important for the Seahawks golfers, as well.
“There’s so much that goes into golf,” Bloom said. “A lot of it can be the mental part of it, the strategy, club selection, learning how to hit trouble shots. That’s what makes golf so interesting. Golf can be pretty complex. I try to make it simple in teaching. Like anything, you’ve got to put some time and effort into it, along with having some skill, talent and coordination.”
Peninsula opens its season on Thursday, Sept. 3 at Auburn Golf Club.