MONTROSE — As the Class 4A State Golf Championships came to a close Tuesday, a Cortez golfing maestro stood back, smiled, relaxed and watched his favorite sport.
The Montezuma-Cortez High School team was playing its final hole of the season at Cobble Creek Golf Course.
Now, head coach Micah Rudosky, 42, can exhale for a few weeks. But then it's back to golf. Then more golf. And more golf.
Golf is his passion and he lives and breathes it.
M-CHS' head coach is also the club professional at Conquistador Golf Course. Besides running a golf course with his wife of 17 years, Anett, the golf pro has to go to work. Micah makes a living on the greens in Florida and California during the winter months.
Micah is gone for work weeks at a time. It is something the Rudoskys are accustomed to. It is the life of a pro athlete. Something Micah's son, Jakob Rudosky, is following in his father's footsteps.
Jakob, 16, shot an even-par 72 his second round at Cobble Creek helping the Panthers to place eighth in 4A and make All-State. M-CHS finished sixth as a team. His two-day total was an impressive 146.
Jakob, a junior at Dolores High School, hopes to play college golf and go pro like his dad and coach.
“It's definitely nice to have him there to coach me along the way. He knows the game better than anyone does,” Jakob said. “Going to his tournaments and caddying for him, I want to be playing right there with him, too. It's motivation to be a pro and want to practice a lot.”
Micah Rudosky grew up in the Phoenix area and golfed at Scottsdale Community College. At 22, Micah hit the pro circuit and saw major success at 24. That's when he decided he could make a living doing what he loves. Micah's greatest accomplishment was qualifying for the PGA Championship in 2007. Of course, his dad, Roland Rudosky, was a golf pro and is the former club pro at Conquistador. Micah moved to Cortez in 1993 and succeeded his dad as the Conquistador club pro in 1997.
Moving to Cortez
Micah has been the golf coach at M-CHS for 10 years. Playing golf is a breeze for Micah. But with coaching comes certain challenges. Especially when one of Micah's players is his oldest son.
“It's difficult coaching your kid in the game of golf,” Micah said. “He kind of wants to vent out on you when things aren't going well, but you try to treat them (players) all the same. That's what I try to do. It's the toughest thing, I think, I've had to do.”
Being a father and coach is more difficult than being away from home for long periods of time. Although golfing in the Sunshine State, while it snows in Colorado, has its advantages, that mental aspect of golf can be distracting. Micah knows things are in good hands back home.
“She's my No. 1 assistant out there. It's the only way to make that work. What a great job she does with the kids,” said Micah about his wife Anett, who is a native of Sweden and became a U.S. citizen this year. “That's why I feel I've been successful at my golf. I can go away and not think about that. It's being taken care of.”
Growing up around golf, perhaps it is natural that Jakob would pursue a life of Scotland's pastime.
“As soon as I could walk, I had a golf club in my hand,” Jakob said. “(Micah) helps with whatever I need to be successful. I like to play good also to make everyone realize he's a good coach.”
Jakob drove the ball with strength and accuracy Tuesday to make par. The end result was by far his best state finish. Jakob was paired with two-time 4A Western Slope Region champion Kyler Smith (Palisade) in the second-round. The coach's son outplayed the region champion by eight strokes.
“If I play my game, I'm just as good as him (Smith). It's always a good battle between me and him. It ups my confidence to beat kids like that,” said Jakob, who mentors his 12-year-old brother Christopher on the golf course.
It's officially the high school golf offseason. But Jakob isn't settling down. He will play in occasional warm winter weather tournaments out of state. Jakob also recently went on an unofficial golf visit to the University of Kansas.
First thing is first, though. It's almost basketball season and Jakob is a guard for the Dolores Bears.
“I told my coach (Larry Schwartz) that after state, that I'm going to start coming to open gym,” Jakob said. “It keeps you in shape for the winter. It doesn't even bother me to walk 36 holes, because you're running all winter.” Staying in shape is important. Amateur golfers carry their own clubs thousands of yards each day.
However, there's a good chance that someday someone will be carrying Jakob's clubs as his caddy on the professional circuit.
“If he wanted to be a professional, fine,” Micah said. “I look for him to get a good education and if golf can help him along with that, then that's what we're trying to do.”
As the old cliche goes — like father, like son.
And, in this case, it's also like grandfather, like grandson.