By Jimmy Allinder
Jeremy Steenvoorden has always been intrigued by how things fly, especially airplanes and golf balls.
An East Brunswick High School senior, Steenvoorden is one of the top golfers in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) and following graduation, he plans on becoming an aerospace engineer.
Steenvoorden has been accepted to and will attend Ohio State University and dreams of designing aircraft for The Boeing Company, which is one of the top manufacturers in the field.
“I’ve had a fascination with airplanes since I was a youngster,” he said. “I thought how amazing it is something that big can stay in the air.”
Thus, it wasn’t surprising that when Steenvoorden began playing golf, he discovered where the ball goes depends on how he swings his club. That’s an oversimplification of what every weekend hacker tries to do, but Steenvoorden has mastered it. East Brunswick golf coach Bo Henning has watched his progress since he was a freshman.
“Jeremy is a powerful kid, and he has taken advantage of that to develop a tremendous lag in his downswing, which enables him to make solid contact with the ball,” Henning said about Steenvoorden’s accuracy after hitting the ball. “His shots are usually true.”
But that’s not always the case, and it’s how Steenvoorden recovers from the disappointment of a shot that lands in the rough that sets him apart from the average golfer.
“He’s very laid back, and that helps Jeremy move on after a poor shot,” Henning said. “Let’s face it. Golf is full of bad shots and bad breaks, but he doesn’t dwell on what happened but focuses on what’s in front of him. It’s what we try to teach all our players — the only important shot is the next shot.”
“I just trust all the practice I’ve had and don’t get too technical with my swing,” Steenvoorden said. “To me, every shot represents another opportunity to succeed.”
Steenvoorden took up golf when he was 8 years old with First Tee of Raritan Valley, which fosters young players’ development. He also played on weekends with his father, Jake. Steenvoorden played baseball but dropped it when he turned 13 after he discovered swinging a bat can “mess with my golf swing.”
Steenvoorden is as committed to schoolwork as he is to golf and has achieved a 4.0 grade-point average. He is a member of the high school National Honors Society and German Honors Society chapters and likes to play recreation basketball with the Fastbreak Association.
In addition to being the top returning golfer for the Bears, Steenvoorden plays on IMG Academy’s Junior Tour events. He said the highlight of his career was two summers ago when he sank a first-ever hole-in-one at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough. Steenvoorden regularly makes the trip to the Somerset County course to receive instructions from teaching professional, Warren Raatz.
“When I have a question about my swing, he makes suggestions that have really helped,” Steenvoorden said. “But the person who has been in my corner since I first picked up a golf club is my dad. He’s an excellent golfer and has mentored me well.”
First Tee Director Mark McCabe has also been supportive ever since Steenvoorden joined the organization, and Henning has imparted a wealth of wisdom as his high school coach.
Steenvoorden finished 10th in last year’s individual standings at the GMC Tournament and hopes to be among the top finishers this spring in addition to helping the Bears defend their Red Division title.
With current conditions preventing him from venturing onto a course and with the season scheduled to open the first week of April, he still manages to prepare for his final year with the Bears.
“If the weather is tolerable, I try to get out and walk or run,” he said. “I also use the indoor simulator at Royce Brook to practice my swing. Other than those things, I’m ready to go.”
It looks like Steenvoorden is set to fly.