Brown Deer boys golf coach Kelly Appleby admits that sometimes when he's waiting for his charges to come in from their latest round he'll sometimes talk a little basketball with whoever's nearby.
Especially if that someone is Shorewood golf coach Chris Hill.
It's only natural, as the pair also both head up their respective schools' boys basketball teams.
Appleby, who is in his sixth year of heading up the golf team, is famous for having led the Falcon boys basketball team to state D3 titles in 2014 and 2015. He has a bit of a background in golf, too, having played high school golf and also being the son of long-time area swing coach Scott Appleby, who's also his assistant basketball coach.
Meanwhile Hill, who has a long hoops pedigree, and who just finished up his first season with the Greyhound basketball team, got ambitious and stepped into the open golf position. He admits he doesn't have much of a golfing background except for the many outings he took part in while recently being part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee basketball program.
"A lot of outings," Hill chuckled. "I saw that the job (Shorewood golf) was open and that not many were offering at it, so I decided to go for it. It helped that a few of the kids who I worked with on the basketball team also tried out (for golf)."
Hill said he knew the basics of golf, but has since immersed himself in all kinds of golf videos and books. He's also asked for help when needed.
"I looked up up some drills and I have a few buddies who play golf quite regularly, including someone who's a pro in the area and that's helped a lot," he said.
He has nine players in the program, including what he feels is a solid varsity five, including senior Tommy Curtis, sophomore all-around sports ace Aarom Eimers ("He keeps himself busy all the time," said Hill) and budding star freshman Peter Grimes.
"These guys have really put the work in and are ready to be successful," he said. "I'm really enjoying working with these kids."
Now, he, like every other spring coach in the area this year, is just hoping for some warmer and drier weather to come by and stick around for awhile.
The Greyhounds were third and the Falcons fifth in a soggy and cold Woodland East mini-meet at Brown Deer Golf Course on April 27. Both turned around and turned in solid performances at the windy Port Washington Invite at Hawthorne Hills on April 28 (see Sports Shorts for details).
In both situations, the conditions were less than ideal, said Hill.
"I mean who doesn't want to be outside in spring?," he said, "but we just need it to be nice out (for a change)."
For Appleby, this kind of weather is old hat. An admitted hoops junkie, he likes the slower pace that golf affords.
"Golf is a more laid-back sport; it's not as hyper-competitive in terms of team play," he said. "It also throws in a lot of things that you don't always get in a pure team sport. Different individual challenges.
"That includes how to overcome adversity when you hit a bad shot. You also find out what kind of person you are, too."
On that last point, Appleby was referencing ethics with a small "e" such as in the case of when you see that you have a less favorable lie than you thought you had, the question arises: Do you nudge the ball into a better place when no one is looking or do you play it as it sits?
It's a question many, many golfers have faced.
Appleby said he's fortunate to have some of his hoops players out there, too, including his former ace shooting guard Jalen Greenlee, who is having a nice season on the links. The Falcons have 12 players on their co-ed team, including two girls. Senior Kevin Kamppinen is leading the way and has posted some fine scores already this spring.
"Kevin's always been someone who can get the ball into the hole but now his ball-striking has also improved," said Appleby. "He has the opportunity to post some really good scores by the end of the season."
He also noted that Greenlee, while devoted to hoops, is someone who could be a really good golfer if he put a little more time into it. Hill even noted that Greenlee can really drive the ball.
Again, Appleby talked about the benefits of the more leisurely pace of the game.
"Basketball season is so hectic and crazy," he said. "It's nice we have a couple of those kids out there with us (on the golf course). You also communicate on a different level in these situations. You're sometimes on long van rides with them and you talk to them about a lot of things and you sometimes become friends."
Hill and Appleby noted that they aren't the only hoops coaches crossing over into golf as recently retired New Berlin Eisenhower hoops legend Dave Scheidegger has also been the Lions' long-time golf coach.
"And yes, we do sometimes talk more hoops than golf," said Appleby.