A day in the life of Columbus North senior Christian Fairbanks is complicated these days.
That might seem like a strange thing to say about a guy who spends much of his time on golf courses.
But just review what he has spinning inside his head.
He’s got graduation and all that entails. Got to have the right gown and cap and those pictures taken.
He’s got a pending academic career at Indiana University, where he will be deciding what to do with the rest of his life. Then, there’s the Hoosiers golf team, which believes in him so much it presented him with an athletic scholarship.
Then there is the stuff every 18-year-old has going on, such as dating and being one of the gang.
Topping it all off, the Columbus North golf team is hoping to make another run at a state golf championship, and by the way, it won’t happen if Fairbanks isn’t at
‘Golf is tough’
North golf coach Doug Bieker thinks Fairbanks is sleeping better these days because he has learned to dial it down a notch in intensity.
“He’s been too hard on himself in the past,” Bieker said. “He wants to do well all the time.
“But golf is tough. It’s even harder when you put added pressure on yourself.”
Although Fairbanks said “I’m not super good at any one thing,” in terms of his golf game, Bieker would disagree.
“I think Christian has all the elements to be a college golfer,” Bieker said. “He is plenty long, and he hits his irons well.
“It’s about what’s between the ears and believing in himself.”
Although he has been playing since he was 3 years old, Fairbanks admits that his self-confidence has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few months.
“I have read some books on how to think,” he said. “I know I have to control what I am thinking about and not get too high or too low. But it’s OK to get mad a little. Then you have to shake it off and go to the next shot.
“You can be a little frustrated. That’s what rekindles the fire.”
Although Fairbanks said, as a little kid, his temperament was a bit scary on the course, it’s not emotions he is worried about so much. It’s more all those thoughts swirling around in his head.
Not the those about graduation or college, but the those about the golf swing and all the checks and balances he practices to perfect it.
“I have worked to gain confidence in my swing,” he said. “And I feel that I am getting there.
“I am a mechanical player, and I think about all that. I would rather think about one thing, balance.”
It’s about trusting all the preparation that is done before the first tee and letting it rip once the round begins.
‘The right direction’
On May 10, Fairbanks shot 71 to win the Bloomington North Invitational at the Indiana University Golf Course. It was his first tournament victory of the season and a sign he is peaking at the right time as the important sectional, regional and state tournaments approach.
He shot three shots lower than teammate Michael VanDeventer, who has been rolling out the lowest scores for North on a regular basis.
“As a team, we’re moving in the right direction,” Bieker said. “I like it when you don’t know who is going to shoot the low score. It’s been Michael (this season). That (tourney win) was a big step for Christian.”
Friendly rivalry VanDeventer and Fairbanks have been shooting very similar scores since they started playing together in seventh grade. However, the two always have played the course, not each other.
“I learn from Michael constantly,” Fairbanks said. “His short game is automatic. When I am getting down on myself, he will say something.”
VanDeventer appreciates the golf he has played with Fairbanks, and he looks forward to a rivalry in college when Fairbanks attends IU and VanDeventer goes to Ball State.
“We’ve been playing golf together a long time,” VanDeventer said. “It’s been fun. He’s been a really good friend.”
VanDeventer said he saw his friend post some scores that “were not up to his standards” this season, and he knew he would gear up as the season went into the later rounds.
“He is a very good player,” VanDeventer said.
But while those who watch Fairbanks might think he is somewhat of a grinder on the course, VanDeventer has seen another side.
“He’s pretty goofy,” VanDeventer said. “He has got his quirks, and he can make some pretty weird sounds.”
If the two, along with their teammates, have had time for silliness, the upcoming playoff rounds will be all business.
Bieker said Fairbanks will be up to the challenge.
“It’s absolutely something he can handle,” Bieker said.
“I know I can play better,” he said. “The confidence is there.”