Hamby and Costello capture All-State golf honors
Robert Galbreath photos PHS senior Brody Hamby putts the ball at the Pinedale Invitational on Aug. 31. Hamby earned 2023 3A All-State honors for a fifth-place finish at the State Tournament. Freshman Braxton Costello prepares to putt at the Pinedale Invitational on Aug. 31. Costello snagged 2023 3A All-State honors for placing sixth at the State Tournament.
PINEDALE – Golf requires considerable mental stamina to succeed.
Golfers in Wyoming contend with many factors that are out of their control – wind, rain, snow, rain-snow, more wind, moose wandering across the course. The mental acumen necessary to focus on the aspects of the game that are under a player’s control involves significant skill and patience.
“Golf is the most difficult mental sport because you’re out there four, five or six hours on the course and so much can go wrong,” said Pinedale High School senior Brody Hamby.
As an upperclassman on PHS’s relatively young squad, Hamby understood the need to set a strong example of what sportsmanship looks like on the golf course for his teammates. Over the years, he developed what he called the “mental strength” to cope with difficult situations on the golf course.
“Whenever I have a bad hole, I’ll step off by myself, say a quick prayer, take off my hat,” said Hamby. “I’ll say whatever bad things I’m doing – let it all out. Then I put my hat back on, say a quick prayer to focus and get back to golf.”
Hamby’s mental strength, coupled with his talent, paid off for the senior during the 2023 season.
At the 3A State Golf Tournament in Worland on Sept. 15-16, Hamby broke into the top 10, snagging fifth place in boys’ varsity and earning All-State accolades for his accomplishment.
“It was kind of surreal,” the senior said. “It’s been something I’ve been working towards my entire high school career. Getting this honor and performing at the high level that I did at State was really nice.”
Freshman Braxton Costello also believes that golf is a mental sport.
“It’s the name of the game,” he said.
Maintaining a collected attitude in the face of Wyoming’s unpredictable elements, wildlife or a particularly challenging course means learning to quickly let go of a bad hole, Costello said.
“You gotta remember that you can’t change that last hole,” he added. “You have to focus on the next shot. Frustration won’t help you at all. I just try to think about one shot at a time.”
Costello is driven by a desire to improve in the sport that compels him to stay focused through each grueling round.
“It’s definitely me wanting to better myself out there,” Costello remarked. “Maybe I got a bogey the last hole and I want to go try to get a birdie on the next hole – I always try to beat myself.”
Costello’s patience and skill resulted in a top-10, sixth-place finish at the 3A State Golf Tournament, along with All-State honors.
“It’s a great achievement,” Costello said. “There was a lot of great competition at State, so it was good to get sixth place.”
A love for the sport
Before picking up golf competitively, Hamby and his older brother, JD, played baseball with a traveling team sponsored by the American Legion in Rock Springs. When JD graduated high school, Hamby was unsure about continuing the trek to Rock Springs on his own and began searching for a new activity.
“My dad and brothers started playing golf,” Hamby said. “So I figured if this was what my family was going to do together, this was a sport I should try.”
Hamby quickly developed an affinity for golf.
“I wasn’t too bad when I started,” he said. “I kept putting in the work and ended up falling in love with the game.”
In middle school, Hamby played competitively on both the Wyoming and Idaho junior tours and practiced with the high school team in the fall. He looked up to PHS alumni and University of Utah golfer Jordan Costello.
“I would try to compete with older guys like Jordan, even as a seventh-grader,” Hamby said. “Sometimes I would get destroyed, but it helped me get better.”
Hamby’s biggest source of inspiration still comes from his brother JD.
“JD pursued his dreams playing baseball,” said Hamby. “He went through the mental struggles, played through high school and got an offer to play in college. Through him, I not only found my love for sports, but he showed me how to live a Godly life.”
Braxton Costello followed his brother Jordan into golf.
“In elementary school, I don’t think we missed one of his college tournaments,” said Costello. “I was surrounded by golf for as long as I can remember. It all sprouted from watching Jordan.”
Golf came naturally to Costello, although he put in a considerable amount of work to improve.
“Having Jordan as an older brother meant I had a built-in swing coach,” Costello said. “I learned a lot early and it’s helped me now with the fundamentals.”
Before joining the PHS golf team as a freshman, Costello played at traveling tournaments across Wyoming and Utah. He developed “great friendships” with fellow players that continued into his high-school career.
As one of two seniors on the PHS golf team this season, Hamby automatically found himself in a leadership role. Hamby prefers leading by example – showing younger players on the team how to “get over that mental stump” that can arise on the golf course.
“You can’t have the freshmen or sophomores seeing you freak out and throw your clubs,” said Hamby. “On the course, you might pass one of your buddies who is having a really off day. You have to go talk to him. It can be hard and can throw you off your game sometimes. But that’s what it is to be a leader – to put others in front of yourself.”
Hamby’s college plans after graduation are not yet set in stone, but he hopes to pursue a career in education and coaching.
“I don’t care if it’s golf, basketball, soccer – I enjoyed helping younger kids and I think I would enjoy being a coach.”
Costello is only a freshman, though due to his extensive background in golf, he frequently mentored his teammates.
“Other kids would ask me to watch their swing,” Costello said. “I’d give them little pointers as much as I could. I wanted to do what I could to help the team.”
Costello set an example by turning a negative situation into a positive. He struggled early in the season to place in the top 10.
“I definitely didn’t perform well at Star Valley (Aug. 9-10), but it was all uphill from there,” said Costello. “When I have a bad tournament, it’s great motivation for me to get better and prove myself in the next tournament – it’s fuel to improve.”
Costello persevered and won the varsity boys’ division at the Pinedale Golf Tournament on Sept. 1.
Costello’s goals for the 2024 high school golf season are to “be in the running” to win a state championship. He dreams of continuing his golf career at the college level.
Both Hamby and Costello are multi-sport athletes. Costello is looking forward to basketball this winter and track in the spring.
Hamby will return to the PHS Wrangler basketball varsity squad in November and the soccer team in spring. As soon as the golf season wrapped up, Hamby put on a Wrangler football uniform and scored a field goal for Pinedale during the big home conference win against Kemmerer on Oct. 6.
Costello thanked his brother for inspiring him. He also expressed gratitude to his teammates, coaches, his parents for traveling to “every tournament” and his grandparents for their support.
Hamby gave a shoutout to his coaches for helping him improve throughout his high school career. He singled out his parents for “supporting me through every low and every high I’ve been through” and his brother for acting as a “beacon of light.”
Hamby also thanked God for “giving me the opportunity to be in this position and playing in the glory of His name.”