A year ago Alex Bon, an experienced and successful volleyball player, didn’t compete for Santa Monica High. He focused on golf, a sport where he might have quite a future.
This season was his senior year and he asked for permission to play both sports.
Norm Lacy, the golf coach, granted permission if golf would come first on Bon’s calendar.
Bon, who is 6-foot-7, became a major contributor on Samohi’s first CIF boy’s volleyball championship team in 26 years. Then he returned his entire focus to golf.
To be honest, Bon may have lost a little on the links. He was the Ocean League Player of the Year and he did lead Samohi to fifth place in the CIF but he fell a little short of his 2005 individual accomplishment by shooting a 78 – when a 76 was required to advance – in the individual competition. A year ago he lasted two weeks longer.
But nobody is complaining and the young man had a senior year he’ll long remember. He’s also an excellent student who’ll be going on to Santa Clara University. And he’s a musician.
“He doesn’t have a lot of free time,” said Lacy.
Bon benefits from the fact his dad is an outstanding golfer. Bon had the lowest (best) average score of any player in the league.
As good as he is, Bon realized that going to UCLA or other schools who recruit the best players from everywhere might make it difficult for him to get the experience he needs.
“Right now those schools can bring in players who are better than he is,” said Lacy. “But he’ll play at Santa Clara and two years from now we’ll see where he is. We’ve had a lot of fine golfers at Samohi and I wouldn’t say he’s the best but he has as much potential as anyone who’s come through here.”
Lacy says the majority of professional golfers are under 6 foot. A few in the 6-1 to 6-4 range have been successful. There aren’t many successful golfers who are above 6-foot-5. The size has advantages and disadvantages.
“He can get tremendous leverage,” said Lacy. “But a lot can go wrong with the swing.”
Some Samohi golfers take private lessons from pros. Lacy, best known as a football coach who won CIF championships at St. Monica and Santa Monica Highs, describes himself as “manager” of the Vikings team.
“When our guys are working with pros I’m not going to tamper with their swing,” he said. “I do more coaching with the younger ones.”
Bon wasn’t a starter at times during the volleyball season because he missed practice. In the interest of team discipline anyone who misses practice doesn’t start.
But he became a big factor in the most important matches at the end of the season.
“He wasn’t goofing around,” said Lacy. “Anytime he missed volleyball practice he was playing golf.”