Tallmadge's Darin Hudak reaches state golf tournament
When Tallmadge's Darin Hudak tees off with the qualifiers at the Division I OHSAA State championship golf tournament, it is the final step of a goal he had as a high school golfer.
“I had two goals at the start of my high school career,” said Hudak, a senior, “to help Tallmadge win a Suburban League title and play in the state Championship."
"Unfortunately, we never won the Suburban, but we came close this year, finishing tied for second in the standings after finishing second in the season-ending tournament.”
While he couldn't help the Blue Devils win a league title, Hudak is officially state bound.
“To qualify for state in my last go-around as a senior made this a special achievement for me,” said Hudak. “I think I am only the second individual to qualify for the DI state tournament from Tallmadge besides Zach Mosholder in 2012.”
Hudak has been a golfer-to-watch since he was young, playing in Northern Ohio PGA tournaments and the Portage County Junior Amateur.
“I started playing in tournaments when I was five years old,” said Hudak.
The most influential person on his golf journey?
“My dad,” said Hudak. “My dad has been my biggest supporter since I can remember and has worked hard to give me the tools I need to succeed.”
A good instructor helps also and Hudak had one of the best in the area, former Kent Roosevelt and Kent State University alumnus Randy Dietz, a PGA professional teaching at Windmill Golf Center in Macedonia.
“I have to thank both Randy, who is my swing instructor, and Neal Hausch for the time and effort they put into making me a better player,” said Hudak.
Hausch, of Golf Fitness Plus in Akron, is one of the top 50 fitness trainers in the nation according to Golf Digest.
Hudak is proud to represent Tallmadge.
“There are a couple of good private golf schools in the area but I felt at home in Tallmadge,” said Hudak. “I wanted to stay close with my friends and help turn Tallmadge’s golf program back into a winning one. I really wanted to represent the community I grew up in.”
And represent he has.
Hudak earned his fourth straight first-team honors in the Suburban League American Conference. He is the 2020 American Conference player of the year, winning three of the four Suburban League Tournaments.
He was the medalist or co-medalist in five high school tournaments including the sectional championship at Windmill Lakes.
Hudak has an enviable 72.6 18-hole scoring average for 2020 and is currently ranked 10th in the state of Ohio for the class of 2021 on the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings.
“The state tournament will be the biggest tournament I have played in,” said Hudak. It will also be the toughest course setup and competition I have played against.”
Anyone who has played the Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course can attest to its tough, competitive holes.
“I am ready for the challenge and I am super-excited to represent Tallmadge and see what I can do in Columbus,” said the Blue Devil.
Hudak played on the Kampen Course at Purdue University this past summer.
“It was a strong field on one of the toughest university courses in the country. There are some similarities between that course and the Scarlet so I look to draw from my experiences at Kampen and use them at the state tournament,” said Hudak.
In addition, Hudak also played in several tournaments locally and on some tough courses on the GolfWeek Junior Tour. He also used the time in quarantine to work hard on his game and his fitness to get ready for summer and fall seasons.
Hudak tees off on Oct. 23 on the Scarlet Course for the two-day, 36-hole tourney that will be the final event of his high school career.
But it is not the end of Hudak’s golf.
Darin has committed to Bowling Green University to play for the Falcons beginning in the Fall of 2021.
“I am beyond excited to be playing golf and representing Bowling Green next year,” said Hudak “I have a good relationship with the head coach and I am becoming great friends with Connor Gdovin from Mayfield and other 2021 BG commits. I feel my game will benefit immensely from the team atmosphere and I look forward to the challenge,” said Hudak who plans to study business analytics and intelligence.
However, right now, Darin Hudak is not looking any farther ahead than the weekend of Oct. 23-24 when he competes with the best golfers in the toughest division of Ohio high school golf in Columbus.
It’s one final step in a dream fulfilled.