In a mental sport like golf, you need all the advantages you can get.
Now Georgia Tech’s golf team can boast another advantage: its assistant coach has been named the top assistant in the nation.
Christian Newton was named the recipient of the 2011 Jan Strickland Award by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
“It’s quite an honor to even be nominated,” he said. “To be in the same sentence as the rest of the coaches that were nominated is an honor. And then to go on to be the winner along with all the past winners is just something else.”
Newton has been a part of the Georgia Tech coaching staff for four years, he also spent time at Alabama and Georgia Southern – where he played for four years as an undergrad – and is responsible for multiple facets of the Tech team.
On any given day he said he would be working on a fundraiser, or be on a recruiting trip in say, California, or leading a workout with the team, or perhaps even running a junior golf camp.
Not one to toot his own horn, Newton said he felt the multiple layers of his job were what set him ahead in the running for the award.
“There’s something different every day,” the three-year Ashford Park resident said. “Only about 15 percent of my time is pure coaching. We do a lot of fundraising to go above and beyond to allow the team to be successful and I play a large role in our biggest campaign. I run workouts, recruit, I’m on the road about 40 nights a year for that, I’m recruiting all the way up to our 2014 class.”
Tech is a perennial top 10 golf team, which netted its third consecutive ACC Title, and this past season had the No. 1 short game in the nation, due in large part to Newton’s concentrated focus on that aspect of the game.
“All our practices were focused on that,” he said. “I spent a lot of time teaching different ways to learn that part of the game. I think it paid off well for our team.”
Newton’s attention to detail and his passion for the game he’s been playing since he was 12 years old play a large part in him netting the honors of top assistant in the nation. Although he doesn’t play like he used to, he said he still gets to hit with the guys at least once or twice a month.
“It’s always you against the game,” he said of his love of golf. “If you can succeed there’s no one that can stop you. There’s so much time between shots, to get inside your own head. Golf is very mental. That’s why it’s such a unique sport.”