Jesuit’s David Laskin logged countless hours toward becoming one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s best golfers
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in April 2016. View the full layout here.
Story By JIM McCUE | Photos by JAMES K. LEASH
Practice can’t necessarily make perfect, particularly in golf. But, practice can make permanent — and that kind of consistency on the course is what makes players great.
Jesuit senior David Laskin has been practicing and playing since he was 6-years old, and that dedication is paying dividends as his final high school season begins to wind down. Laskin is among the Sac-Joaquin Section’s top golfers and his steady game gives him a chance to do great things at the Section Masters tournament and beyond.
“The strength of my game is consistency,” he said. “A lot of junior golfers can shoot 64, 65, 66, but then they might shoot in the 80s. I generally don’t shoot in the 80s and stay around par all of the time, but I can go low.”
Earlier this week, Laskin shot a season-best 66 at Wildhawk Golf Club in Sacramento to earn individual medalist for the second time in as many Delta League Tournaments, helping the Marauders take top team honors after Davis won the first league tourney at El Macero. He shot a 70 in the first Delta League tournament and currently leads the points race for Delta League MVP.
But, despite the individual honors that he earns in high school and junior amateur competitions, Laskin’s primary focus right now is the Jesuit team. Under the direction of first-year coaches Pete Baichtal and Father Aaron Engebretson, the Marauders rely on Laskin for more than just his low scores.
While some junior golfers cruise through their final high school season after accepting a college scholarship, Laskin has been more focused on his team than ever, according to his coaches.
“He embodies what we want in a leader at Jesuit,” Engebretson said. “He is humble; he gives himself to his team; and he is a solid student. He finds a way to fit this in and makes it a priority to help the younger guys.”
When the Jesuit golfers were asked to list their goals for the 2016 season, Laskin’s top three goals were team goals, and he has never wavered on those priorities despite signing to play golf at the University of Arizona next year.
The process of earning a Division I golf scholarship goes through junior amateur tournaments rather than high school matches, but Laskin wants to enjoy his final season as a Marauder with his teammates.
“As a team, I want us to make it as far as we can,” he said. “We have had some good finishes of late, and I think that maybe we can make a deep run in the postseason. I want to make it to state, but I would love to make it there as a team.”
Laskin has his own team at home that has played a huge role in his success on the course. His parents, Alan and Julie, have guided both David and his older sister Emily — a 2014 St. Francis-Sacramento grad who is playing at the University of San Francisco — through the trials and tribulations of junior golf with impressive success.
“My wife is amazing with the organization and coordination to get them everywhere they need to be,” Alan Laskin said. “I’m more concerned with how he handles himself as a gentleman on the golf course than I am if he shoots 62 or 82.”
That support has helped David thrive as a student-athlete, and allowed him to spend the needed time practicing and refining his game. Laskin practices or plays four days during the week with Jesuit, and then practices with either private coach Phil Dawson or on his own for about six-to-eight hours a day on weekends. Well, weekends when he is not competing in junior amateur tournaments.
“He is a determined player,” said Dawson, who coaches numerous high school, college and amateur golfers. “He puts in the time to be great, and that’s what separates him from the pack.”
Laskin has always strived to separate himself from the rest of the field, admitting to first dreaming of playing on the PGA Tour — and especially at The Masters — before he even turned 10. But, it was not until he started high school that he realized his dreams could come true with plenty of hard work and sacrifice. The senior still finds time to succeed in the classroom and give back to the community. Laskin has fulfilled community service hours required by Jesuit by volunteering at a South Sacramento after-school program, serving meals to the homeless and less fortunate, and to helping rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans this past Summer. He believes that his friends and family understand his need to give lots of time and energy to golf.
“To be the best, you have to work hard and make (golf) your focus,” Laskin said. “I think that my friends understand that and know that’s what I need to do to achieve my goals.”
If he does not achieve his goals of individual and team recognition as a senior at Jesuit along with success at the collegiate and professional level, it will certainly not be for a lack of work. Because Laskin is determined to practice to make permanent and to realize his golf dreams.
“David is redundantly good from tee to green all of the time,” Dawson said. “This game is all about organization and discipline. He takes a holistic approach to the game that makes him a highly proficient player.”