Roach Making a Great Debut with East Haven Golf
Junior Ethan Roach is posting some solid scores in his first season as a member of the East Haven boys’ golf team. Ethan also plays goalie for the Yellowjackets’ ice hockey squad. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Roach)
After growing up as a hockey and baseball player, Ethan Roach decided that he wanted to take his shot at playing golf as a junior at East Haven High School this spring. While this is only his first season on the greens, Ethan is making an immediate impact for the Yellowjackets, while primarily competing as the squad’s No. 2 golfer.
Ethan gained some experience in golf as a youngster. When he was 10, Ethan started going to the driving range with his father Bob and grandfather Pete. Ethan liked the way that his dad swung the club and was inspired to start honing his own skills on the course.
“My dad was pretty into golf. I always used to see him going to the range,” Ethan says. “When I went with him the first time, I really just loved the way he hit the ball. I really just became obsessed with the game from there and tried to get better.”
At age 11, Ethan joined the Great River Golf Team based in Milford and also attended a golf camp at the New Haven Country Club. That year marked the only time that Ethan had competed in the sport of golf until the high school level. Ethan feels that early experience gave him a better appreciation of the game and fueled his drive to improve.
“It definitely took a little while to get used to it. I was playing hockey, and I took the competitiveness from there. I tried my hardest,” says Ethan, who is the starting goalie for the East Haven co-op hockey team. “Every time we went on a new hole, there was a new opportunity to do something different.”
As a freshman, Ethan was a member of the East Haven baseball squad. In the summer following that season, Ethan started playing a lot of golf with his friends and became “obsessed” with the sport. After his sophomore baseball season was canceled due to COVID-19, Ethan decided that he was going to switch from the diamond to the links and signed up for boys’ golf team in his junior year.
“It’s great. I’m meeting new kids from other towns and even from school,” Ethan says. “I’m playing at courses I would never have the opportunity to go to. It is teaching me so many new things.”
Head Coach Ricky Narracci is impressed with what he’s seen from Ethan thus far this season. Ethan has been slotted in as the Easties’ No. 2 or 3 golfer throughout the campaign, and Coach Narracci expects him to stick in the 2 spot the rest of the way. Narracci even thinks that Ethan has the potential to become East Haven’s No. 1 golfer as a senior next year.
“Ethan is starting to improve with the weather getting better and having a few rounds under our belt. He is a good athlete. We were lucky to get him on the team,” says Narracci. “He has a really good swing, good flexibility. He has a chance to contend and be the medalist in any of our matches.”
Alongside golf, Ethan is also a member of the East Haven co-op boys’ ice hockey team. Ethan started playing hockey in the town’s youth clinics at age two and joined the Yellowjackets in his sophomore year.
This past winter, Ethan stepped between the pipes as East Haven’s starting goalkeeper. Ethan was honored to earn the starting nod and feels glad that he’s now playing two sports for the Easties.
“Getting the opportunity to start for East Haven was a really big honor. It was great competing for the school, my name, and all my teammates,” Ethan says. “After hockey season, it’s nice to get on the golf course and have a different mindset. Keep it fresh for each sport.”
As he continues his golf career, one of Ethan’s goals is to break 40 for a nine-hole round, and that seems well within reach as his current low score is a 41. Ethan also wants to continue developing his mental toughness as a golfer. Whenever he’s on the course, Ethan loves the challenge of figuring out the best approach on each hole.
Ethan is hoping to keep playing golf after he graduates from high school. Ethan appreciates the fact that competing for the golf team allows him to form relationships that he wouldn’t have created otherwise.
“I’d love to take this sport past high school and really get the most out of it. I want to put my name out there and play beyond high school, I really do love it,” says Ethan. “I’ve made great connections playing golf. Playing on the East Haven golf team is something I’ll never forget.”