June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Golf: Koch no longer eligible to play for Bees, heads south

MONTVILLE TWP. — Spencer Koch is heading to Florida.

The All-Ohio Medina golfer confirmed Wednesday he will live in the Sunshine State during the winter and play in junior tours with the goal of maximizing his potential.

The decision forfeits Koch’s high school eligibility, as the incoming junior will no longer have permanent residency in Ohio. He will obtain his high school diploma using online courses.

“I wanted to get better at my game, definitely,” he said. “When I come into summer golf, it takes me a couple rounds to get going again. I don’t want to deal with that anymore. I want to play all year round and get better.”

The 16-year-old’s announcement isn’t much of a surprise within Medina’s golf program because Koch has been considering it for some time. The precedent was set recently by former Hudson resident Jackson Stroup, though Stroup moved to Naples, Fla., for good.

Koch’s parents, Bob and Angela, will accommodate him by splitting time between Florida and their Montville Township home. Bob, a longtime Medina County resident who qualified for the U.S. Senior Open last summer, is known worldwide for developing the Medicus Learning System and is the founder of Medicus Golf.

Spencer Koch, whose older brothers, Josh and Bobby, also starred at Medina, said he will return to Ohio for holidays and summers, thus keeping his area ties intact.

“I’m not living down there full time unless something happens,” he said. “My (parents’) house is for sale now, so if my house is sold, my whole family will end up moving.”

Koch plans on battling the nation’s best in prestigious American Junior Golf Association events. More importantly, he is focused on refining his skills with private instructors.

The 5-foot-11, 145-pounder already has received interest from Big Ten, Mid-American Conference and Horizon League schools, but his sights are set elsewhere.

“I definitely want to go to college down south, for sure, and I definitely want to try to play professionally after college,” he said. “I’m going to work hard and work on my game all the time. I have an instructor down in Florida, so that will help me out in the long run.”

Koch will be hard to replace after he joined Nate Gumlia and Bryan Mitchell as the only All-Ohioans in Medina history.

The right-hander was second in the county to teammate and Gazette MVP Patrick Luth with a 38.9 scoring average and capped the year with a second-team All-Ohio honor at the Division I state tournament. His team-low 75-81—156 was instrumental in the Bees matching its county record with a fifth-place finish.

Koch was expected to replace Luth as the team’s No. 1 this season. Those plans are now history.

“It will be sad. I’ll miss playing high school golf,” he said. “I loved states, and I’ll definitely miss playing with my teammates.”

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.