Wellesley Athlete of the Week is made possible with sponsorship support from Deland, Gibson Insurance. The family-owned and operated business has carried on this Wellesley tradition for over 30 years.
Athlete of the Week: Ryan Keyes, a junior on the boys’ golf team
Siblings: 3 sisters. 1 older, 2 younger
Extra Golf Practice: Attends the “Golf Performance Center” in Connecticut and Florida during the second semester
Student-Athlete Balance: Completes homework by 9 pm, then practices short game
Pregame Ritual: Starts warm-up with 7 iron
Ryan Keyes, a junior at Wellesley High School, is widely known for his abilities on the golf course. In his freshman year, Keyes made the varsity team and was one of the best players. During his sophomore year, he won the Massachusetts Individual Division 1 Championship. This season, Keyes was the top player on the team and helped carry the Raiders (16-2) to yet another state championship appearance.
Keyes was exposed to golf at a young age playing rounds with his family, which fostered his love for the game. He started to play competitively in middle school and participated in tournaments at local golf courses. During 8th grade, Keyes got a job at the Kohr driving range in Natick. After school and after matches, he would go straight to Kohr and hit a few buckets of balls and practice his putting on the nearby greens.
During this time, Keyes created his very own backyard putting and chipping green. Although COVID hit soon after, he didn’t let the weeks where courses were shut down deter him. Keyes began working on trick shots in his basement, in the backyard on the putting green, and even on the stairs. Chipping all sorts of objects from golf balls to ping pong balls, and even Xbox discs, Keyes became a masterful short-game player because of his hours of practice.
When the courses opened up, Keyes played multiple rounds each day, followed by work on the range. Although these days required lots of mental strength and hard work, Keyes saw the results as his scores dropped quickly during the summer before 9th grade.
With this hard work, Keyes made the varsity team after only one day with a 37 (+1) on nine holes. His tryout previewed the rest of the season; Keyes proved to be one of the top golfers on the team.
During the summer of his sophomore year, he continued practicing through tournament play. One of his most successful rounds came at the Massachusetts Junior Amateur championship. During this tournament, Keyes shot an amazing round of -1 (69), his first-ever sub-70 score. As a leader on the team this year he shot a +2 (74) during the Bay State Conference Championship at Easton Country Club.
Coach Kenneth Bateman, an avid golfer who has coached for 13 years, couldn’t be happier to have Keyes on the team. Words he used to describe Keyes during our interview: “motivated, honest, leader.”
Bateman complimented Keyes’s skills, but noted more importantly how he has helped everybody, from seniors to underclassmen. Bateman commented: “He made the team like a community, and he brought everybody together.”
Bateman also emphasized Keyes’s leadership on a larger scale. He referenced how the student helped to organize a fundraising tournament with the Weston and Wellesley golf teams. The teams, with his guidance, raised over $6,000 for First Tee and Dana Farber.” Keyes’ larger-than-golf view of the world has earned him the respect of his teammates.
When asked about his favorite moments on the golf course, Keyes focused on the Raiders’ victory at Cape Cod National. “I think the proudest moment I’ve had is probably seeing our team win the Cape Cod National Tournament. I was not there because I was away, but it was a big tournament and I was very proud to be a part of the team that won.”
Although Keyes is a team player at his core, he does have one individual goal: To play golf in college. His hopes of playing beyond high school and into college are surely within reach thanks to the combination of his natural ability and outstanding work ethic.
Article written by John Battaglino, Bradford ‘24
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