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Team NH Ready for USGA State Team
Author: Wayne Mills
September 27th 2014 - Craig Steckowych, 56, has been four times and has decided to give it another shot. Ryan Kohler, 30, has been once before and can’t wait to go again and Mike Martel, 22, has never been and is anxious to go for the first time.

That multi-generational team will represent New Hampshire at the USGA Men’s State Team Championship on the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana from September 30-October 2. The 54 hole event will count the best two scores each day from the three man team.

Each state in the Union plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will send a three man team to the Men’s States which is held biennially (except held consecutively in 2009 and 2010).

Originally conceived by the USGA as a one-off event to coincide the association’s 100th anniversary in 1995, the Men’s State Team Championship was such a success that it has become regular part of the USGA schedule ever since.
Each state can use whatever criteria they choose to pick their team but cannot select collegians due to NCAA regulations.
The New Hampshire Golf Association (NHGA) has chosen to take the top three eligible from the two year points list accumulated through participation in NHGA events. “We just felt that was the fairest method,” said NHGA Executive Director Matt Schmidt.   

Steckowych who has played in ten USGA events including four State Teams was on the fence about competing again but once he saw who his teammates were he was in. “I know them both pretty well. I like them both a lot. If it was a couple other guys I may have said for them to take someone else since I’ve been four times but I decided I would go since I like who I’m going with’,” he said. “I’ll go and play one more time. It probably won’t ever happen for me again.”
He also recognizes he has some young guns on his side. “I’m going to relying heavily on their ability. They are far more in their prime than I am,” he joked.

Kohler, a New Hampshire native and West Chesterfield resident who played on the 2012 team is excited about returning. “It’s pretty much been on my radar since the last time since it was such a great experience,” he said. “I’m proud to represent my state.”

“We don’t get to do the team thing in golf and team sports were always in my background so I look forward to joining Craig and Mike,” said Kohler. “It is always going to be a goal of mine to get on this team.”

The trip to French Lick, Indiana will be a homecoming of sorts for first year Executive Director Schmidt who attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend and worked for the Indiana Golf Association prior to taking the head job at the NHGA last October.

Schmidt, who was invited by the USGA to work as a rules official at the championship, is looking forward to his first trip back. “I’m excited to go back and see some familiar faces, but more excited to be able to spend time with Craig, Ryan, and Mike and cheer them on,” he said.

Schmidt is also the only one who has seen the host golf course before. “In my opinion, it’s the most unique golf course in Indiana.”

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