After coaching the Mount Desert Island High School JV golf team for the past two years, Jon Nicholson will coach the varsity team starting this fall. Nicholson is a former Trojan golfer and past president of Kebo Valley Golf Club. ISLANDER PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Nicholson to coach MDIHS varsity golf

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School varsity golfers will have one of their former standouts helping them climb to the top of the leader board.

Jon Nicholson, who coached JV golf over the past two years, will replace longtime varsity coach Wilton James. Morgan Kelly, a former Trojan golfer and assistant pro at Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor, will coach JV.

Nicholson, who is the senior vice president-senior regional business relationship officer at The First in Bar Harbor, said he always has enjoyed teaching kids the game.

“I’ve always golfed since I was little, and I wanted to get kids involved with the sport,” he said. Nicholson coached the Conners Emerson junior golf program for several years before coaching at the high school level.

“I’ve coached a lot of these kids right from when they were young,” said Nicholson. His 15-year-old son Kyle made the varsity golf team last year as a freshman and will play again this year.

Nicholson knows a thing or two about playing high school golf. The Bar Harbor native was a Trojan golfer from 1985 to 1989 and then went on to play college golf for two years at the University of Southern Maine. He also served as Kebo’s club president from 2008-2010.

Nicholson and this season’s crop of golfers will work to reach the state championships in October, which the team has achieved the past two years.

He said his coaching strategy will be to hone players’ mental agility.

“It’s more about trying to help them think their way through the course,” said Nicholson. “Golf is tough. You can’t run your way out of a problem. You can’t hustle your way out of a problem. You have to think your way out of it.”

Golf, said Nicholson, requires patience. Once an athlete has that, he or she can master the other skills necessary for a low handicap.

“If you can [have patience], then your natural ability will come over time if you stick with it,” said Nicholson. “Golf is a life sport, and I like the fact that a lot of these kids can play forever if they stick with it.”

MDIHS golfers play most often at Kebo, but also at the Causeway Club in Southwest Harbor and the Northeast Harbor Golf Club. “All of the island courses have been really helpful,” said Nicholson. Pros at each club offer technical help to the high school athletes.

Fall sports practice begins Aug. 15. Then golfers will be split into varsity and JV teams. Nicholson said he expects about 20 students to sign up for the sport this season.

Many of this season’s golfers play one or two other varsity sports, he said.

“This year is an anomaly because we have so many returning players that are so athletic,” said Nicholson. “They are all pretty consistent with each other as far as skill level. We’re going to have a good team.”


Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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