Alex Heck does it wrong to temporarily say goodbye to the comfort zone.
History tells us that most college transfers are closer to home, not further away. But Heck, a 2020 graduate of Center Grove, drew a turnaround.
After attending Valparaiso University (275 miles away) for a year, Heck is a sophomore and athlete at St. Leo University (944 miles away), a half-hour northeast of Tampa, Florida.
Heck, who said an even tighter campus (IUPUI) was its third finalist for potential goals after high school, arrived in St. Leo the last week of August and has settled in well since then.
“I’ve loved it down here so far. Everything was fine, ”he said. “Everyone welcomed me with open arms, the campus is beautiful and our home golf course (Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club) is really good. It has two 18-hole courses.
“Really, the big thing (at Valpo) is that it just didn’t work out well. When you’ve been snowed in for four or five months, it’s hard to do what you love to do. “
In Heck’s case, that means playing competitive rounds of golf or investing the hours necessary to improve any aspect of his game that he thinks needs work. In his one year at Valpo, he competed in 16 rounds of competition with an average 18-hole score of 75.69 and a low round of 72.
His golf career at St. Leo got off to an impressive start when Heck helped Lions win the seven-team Griffin Invitational in Petersburg, Virginia earlier this month. In third place in the list, Heck shot 76, 69 and 74 and took sixth place individually.
Today St. Leo begins playing at the Cougar Invitational in Columbus, Georgia.
The warmer temperatures associated with living in Florida will allow Heck to continue playing outdoor Lions training sessions during the three months between the fall and spring seasons.
“Our home course with 36 holes can simulate almost any course,” said Heck. “You can determine the length and difficulty of shots. Playing all year round is nice because I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m really excited to be able to work on various aspects of my game in the offseason. “
Chris Greenwood, now in his ninth season as a St. Leo coach, recruited Heck while he was at Center Grove. And although Heck’s arrival on campus is a little later than hoped, Greenwood isn’t surprised given the fluid nature of today’s transfer portal.
Greenwood himself played two seasons golf at Virginia Tech before moving to the state of North Carolina. He graduated in 1992, long before the portal was the revolving door it is today.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised at how things work today,” said Greenwood, who led four Lions teams to the NCAA Division II national tournament, including the 2016 team champions. “Alex brings consistency to his results our program and I don’t have to worry about anything.
“He will take care of his academics, be in the practice on time, and do the things he has to do to be successful.”