Roseau Boys Golf Coaches Awarded State Honors

 

October 28, 2023

Mike Lundbohm and Paul Grafstrom

by Jeff Olsen

Head coach Mike Lundbolm and his long-time assistant Paul Grafstrom were honored recently as the Class 2A coaches for 2023.

"It certainly is a nice honor when you've been doing it a long time," said Mike, who appreciates Roseau's golf teams - the most recent ones and in the years past for their exceptional play.

"To get this honor, you have to have pretty good programs to start with in order to be considered for it."

He noted that the Rams have had success for a long time.

"We've been to State three years in a row, and we're proud of this group of kids. You're a good coach when your kids are good."

In 2021, the Rams placed sixth at State. They placed third in 2022 and fourth in 2023.

"But this year, we actually were 10 strokes better than a year ago. So, we were very good. It was just that we ran into a couple of private school teams that were too good for us."

Mike and Paul have been coaching boys golf since 1999.

"We've been state runners-up two times since I've been coaching," he said, recalling that the Rams boys teams have had seven state team runners-up.

"That goes back to the 1960s when Pete Groschupf coached. In fact, I was on the first team that took second place in one division."

Don't ask him to name his favorite players. That's like asking a parent to select their favorite child.

After all, Jim Foss and now Max Wilson took runner-up honors at State.

"Jim and Max are very good players and as good as there were in the state."

What stands out are the 15 and counting of his players over the past 24 years who have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

"John Harris was probably the most noted of Roseau golfers. He was a Big Ten champion and an amateur champion. He's the only one who ever won the state tournament, but that was before I was coaching," he said, adding that he had played on the same team as Harris, who was a couple of years younger.

During his 24 years as head coach, they have won either eight or nine section titles in either 1A or 2A.

"I know we've won the Section 8AA four times in the last nine years. We've had an individual player advance to State in every year but two years."

This is the second time that Mr. Lundbohm has been honored as State Golf Coach of the Year. The first was in 2004.

He mentioned that Paul has been the assistant coach of the year with the Lady Rams hockey team.

The 1968 RHS graduate recalled that remarkable 1968 spring golf season when the Rams took runner-up team honors.

"It was the two Harrises (John and brother Robby) and the two Lundbohms (Mike and younger brother Bob) whose four scores counted on that first state runner-up team. That was when there was just one class."

Then it was back to the present.

"This year, Max was a candidate for Mr. Golf, one of six or eight kids that were nominated, " he said, adding that there were no Class A candidates while Max Wilson was the lone one from Class 2A.

"All the rest were from the big schools."

Teagan LaPlante, a 2023 RHS graduate and Max's teammate, is now attending Bemidji State.

"He's an outstanding player, too. They are the best two I've ever had for sure. I wouldn't be wrong to say, that as good as all the players we've had, they were right at the top of the list."

He also coached Jim Foss.

"He was a wonderful player for us and was a leader for five years when he played. Back then, we had success and one big part of it was because Jim was not only very good but he dragged his teammates along."

He added that it's impossible to name all his good players.

"Will Czeh was a real good player for us after Foss. Jared Strand was a good player for us and went to State a couple of times."

Off the top of his head, he remarked on the many other good golfers like Justin "JJ" Johnson and Eric Fabian, who made the podium in his day.

He was asked his assessment of his assistant coach, Paul Grafstrom.

"The thing about Paul is there's always a positive twist. Sometimes, you're watching guys struggle or seem to be a little down or whatever. If there's ever a time to send someone to cheer somebody up or keep them going, the biggest thing about Paul is you can't rain on his parade. He gets them looking on the sunny side, and that's been great for me."

Paul Speaks

"They had the Minnesota State High School League banquet for all the state coaches at the Minneapolis Sheridan in Minnetonka a week ago Saturday," said the 2019 Assistant State Coach of Year in Girls Hockey.

Golf is not a physical game, according to Mr. Grafstrom.

"It's such a mental game. It's kind of grinding because there are five-hour rounds. You're just trying to keep the kids focused and keep their emotions in check."

He explained that the rules changed a few years ago, and coaches can now walk along with their players.

"You can talk to them, but you can't help them on the greens or read putts with them."

Paul's approach with his golfers is to give them some suggestions or different options on a particular lie.

"But you let them decide. Before you couldn't say anything once the meet started. Coaches were just spectators. We're more hands-on now."

He credits Mike with being really good on the technique part of the game.

"If a kid is hooking or slicing the ball or whatever, he has a way to help correct them."

What that has meant with Mr. Grafstrom being the encourager and Mr. Lundbohm being the technique master is a resoundingly successful Roseau boys golf program.

 

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