Conditions for golf were
less than ideal at the Star Valley View Golf
Course on Sept. 20 as Pinedale senior Mitchell
Pape prepared to tee off on the last hole.
The top 3A high school golfers gathered in
Afton that weekend to compete for the state
championship. But they also had to battle the
Temperatures hovered in the 40s, just warm
enough to pelt the athletes with freezing rain.
Pape tried using an umbrella at first, but it
kept blowing away in the wind. A hailstorm
erupted as Pape played the back nine on the
second day. Growing up in Pinedale, Pape is
familiar with poor weather conditions and has
even golfed in snow.
“I’m used to playing in crappy weather,” he
said. “The Pinedale golf season is so short. It
gives me a mental edge over other competitors.”
Pape felt the pressure of competition as he
rounded the bottom nine holes.
“I was nervous going into State,” he said.
“Conference (the week before) was my worst
performance all year. I was not sure what to
Pape finished the first day in 11th place, and
as he reached the end of competition on day
two, he was a few points away from breaking
into the top-10 finishers.
“I knew every shot would count,” he said.
“Coach (Luke Myszewski) said I needed to get
par on the last hole to make the top 10.”
Parents, competitors, teammates and
coaches gathered under the gray skies to watch
Pape and his competitors play. Pape mentally
“I turned my nerves into excitement,” he
said. “I thought, ‘Yeah – I’m ready to go out
there and play golf.’ At the last tee-shot, I sat
back and said to myself, ‘This is my last teeshot
as a high schooler.’”
Pape’s tee-shot was “great,” he said. The
second stroke ended “just short of the green.”
His third stroke nearly chipped into the hole,
but landed 4 feet away. Pape steadied himself,
and sunk the ball in on the 4-foot putt. He saw
Luke Myszewski Photo
Pinedale senior Mitchell Pape, second from left, with the top-10 finishers at the Wyoming High School 3A State Golf Tournament in Afton. Pape tied for 10th and
secured his spot on the All-State roster on Sept. 20.
Robert Galbreath photo
Pinedale senior Mitchell Pape tees off at the Pinedale Golf Tournament on Aug.
20. Pape took home the first-place prize at the home meet.
his teammates smiling on the sidelines, but
didn’t realize he had tied for 10th place until
Coach Myszewski showed him the final leaderboard.
“I ended up making par, and that’s what I
needed,” he added.
Pape’s spot in the top 10 landed him on the
All-State roster, the first time a golfer from Pinedale
has done so since 2016.
“I was extremely happy,” he said. “I worked
really hard for this and it finally paid off.”
Practice, practice, practice
Pape started golf a “lot later” than some
of his teammates. It wasn’t until his seventh-
grade year that Pape decided to give the
sport a try. He found that he enjoyed it and
joined the high school golf team.
As his skills improved, Pape buckled down
during his junior and senior year, determined
to excel at the sport. Catching up with his
competition involved a lot of work. During the
few months when Rendezvous Meadows Golf
Course was clear of snow, Pape spent four to
six hours a day practicing.
“I’d have to cram in a lot of hours during
the short golf season,” he said. “I’d go to the
course after work for a few hours, and during
the weekend, I’d really go at it with six hours
Pape received a few lessons with a professional
coach in St. George, Utah, but for the
most part, his golf skills are self-taught.
“I’d find something that worked and stick
with it,” he said. “Your swing doesn’t have to
look perfect. What matters is where the ball
The tee-off is usually the most dramatic
part of the game from a photographer’s point
of view. Not for golfers, however. Pape said
it’s the “short game,” the putting and chipping
at the end that has the most impact on a
golfers’ score. Pape devoted “80 percent” of
his practice time to improving his putting and
Golfers practice long hours. During a tournament,
they are out on the green for the better
part of a day. Staying physically fit is important,
but golfers also have to learn mental endurance.
A lot of this has to do with moving
on after a bad shot.
“You can’t get emotionally worked up
over one shot,” Pape said. “You’ll hit in good
shots and bad shots. The key is to learn from
the bad shot and move on to the next one.
Three bad shots and one great shot can still
get you par.”
Pape added that he looks up to Pinedale
alumnus Jordan Costello, another golfer who
“came from this small town with a small
course and a big offseason and went on to do
great things.” His favorite professional golfer
is Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland.
Pape explained that a lot of his success
came from all of the support he got from his
family and coaches over the year.
When he isn’t out on the links, Pape stays
busy in the winter competing for the Wrangler
alpine ski team. After practicing and
doing homework, Pape said he enjoys “hanging
out with friends” during his off time.
Pape’s favorite classes at Pinedale High
School are physical education and math. He
is considering using his math talents to pursue
a career in mechanical engineering. Pape
is also interested in continuing with his golf
career at the college level.
The brief fall golf season in Wyoming
came to an end two weeks ago as autumn
weather roared down on the course at Afton.
“This was my last state golf event and it’s
sad,” Pape said. “All the memories over the
years and everything I worked for. It’s an end
of a chapter in my life.”
As Pape prepares to move into the next
chapter, his advice to underclassman on the
golf team is this – avoid all the sand traps.