The biggest step Ben Pochet has taken over the course of his golf career has been into the weight room.
Growing up as part of the Spring-Ford boys golf program over the past three seasons, Pochet has noticeably trimmed the baby weight and sprouted nearly five inches vertically.
“That’s honestly made the game of golf a lot simpler for me,” said Pochet, noting that he’s been working out alongside teammate Jon Lumley at least three times a week. “You don’t need to hit the ball as hard — or feel like you’re hitting the ball as hard — to still put it out there. Working out and getting taller has definitely helped me in that respect.”
Mixing in a steady routine with focus on flexibility and rotation, the Rams’ junior started to experience the coveted gains that so many desire. More distance off the tee, a new-found comfort over the ball and a broader sense of confidence started to play into his game. And the results only stand as evidence.
For his personal growth – both in the weight room and on the golf course this past fall – and the results that matched, Pochet was named The Mercury’s All-Area Golfer of the Year.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “You look around the league and there are so many competitive players — JT (Spina), Kyle Vance, Connor Boham, Caleb Ryan just to name a few. To be able to establish myself with them gives me a ton of confidence going forward.”
Pochet is the first player selected outside of the Vance family since Owen J. Roberts’ Jimmy Wolfe earned top All-Area honors after the 2010 season. Methacton senior Kyle Vance earned the accolade following the 2014 and 2015 seasons, right on the heels of his middle brother, Brandon, who won it to close out the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The oldest Vance brother, Ryan, began the trend to put a stamp on the 2011 season.
In addition to being named Player of the Year, Pochet was also named to both the All-Pioneer Athletic Conference and All-Area first teams for the third consecutive season.
“I didn’t even know about all of this when I was a freshman,” he said with a laugh, “so it was definitely an added bonus to be named to the first team as a freshman.
“I try not to think about that stuff during the season, though. I just try to stay focused on scoring low and putting in good rounds.”
Even with all those honors next to his name, this past fall was his most impressive yet.
Pochet turned in low-round honors for Spring-Ford eight times and fired seven rounds under par in leading the Rams to an undefeated regular season in PAC play and eventually a spot into the conference title match. He averaged 35.8 strokes per nine holes, including a season-best 3-under 33 at Hickory Valley during a match against Upper Perkiomen.
“Ben works hard on his game and continues to improve every year,” said Spring-Ford head coach Jeff Mast. “It may be cliché, but he leads by example.”
Pochet was dominant at Spring-Ford’s home course of Turtle Creek, where he finished 7-under collectively in match play.
Individually, he saved his best for last.
He opened up the postseason with an even-par 71 at the PAC Individual Championships at Gilbertsville for a silver finish. A week later, he finished at 10-under for the two-day round at Turtle Creek to claim the District One title. He then followed that up with another gold finish, this time at 5-under at Golden Oaks at the one-day Eastern Regional Championship, bettering the field by three strokes.
Not including states, where he finished tied for 17th out of 36, Pochet finished the fall high school season at 14-under par.
“Ben’s very consistent on the course with both his decisions and execution,” said Mast. “His confidence may be his best quality.”
Aside from his physical appearance, Pochet has experienced plenty of growth — both spiritually and emotionally as well — since he arrived onto the scene as a freshman.
Never incredibly long off the tee, Pochet makes his money on the approach shots. Usually sitting comfortably in the fairway, he does himself plenty of favors, consistently sticking it close and finishing it up from tap-in range.
“I know what I can do and I know what I can’t do,” he said. “That’s come from playing against so many really good players the past few seasons. For me, it’s been all about sticking to my game — not trying to do too much.”
Now as he looks ahead to his senior season, he’ll bring with him the same approach he has over the past three seasons.
“Me versus the course,” he said. “That’s the way I try and play. It doesn’t matter what everyone else does … you can’t control that. You can only control yourself.”
Pochet’s first step as a freshman at Spring-Ford was coming into his own role. Three years and several steps later, he’s grown into a leader with the team. His senior season should be one final culmination of his own personal growth — both as a player and as a person.