By Eliot Schickler

Kirk Massie epitomizes patience, a calm demeanor and consistency on the golf course.

These traits helped Massie earn the opportunity to play for Division I Lafayette College after being a three-year force for Staples.

"It's really exciting and I'm happy to have a chance to play Division I golf," Massie said. "I'm looking forward to going out there in the fall."

Massie played a huge role in Staples winning the Division I title sophomore and junior years and being in the running senior year. He also helped the team win FCIACs junior year and come close the other two seasons.

"Kirk's work ethic is unbelievable," Wreckers Coach Tom Owen said. "He takes the time to work with me and the younger kids on the team. He wants to make a difference for Staples golf and for himself and he followed through with it."

This will to succeed almost earned him All-State honors. The top 10 golfers for Class LL (combination of regular season play and the Class LL championships) were selected All-State and Massie was 11th, falling a tad short of reaching this zenith.

`It was hard because looking back, there were a few shots I wish I had back, if I just had three shots back, I would have been All-State," Massie said. "It's good to at least be in the running and it's very difficult to do."

Not all was lost for Massie pertaining to honors as he was chosen to the All-FCIAC Central Division team.

"The FCIAC is harder to win than states and it's a very competitive league," Massie said. "It feels good to be recognized in the FCIAC."

Possessing a solid drive made Massie lethal on the links. It all began for him with his love for the game.

"This year, it was more [about] accuracy," Massie said. "I didn't get myself in too much trouble off the tee. Two years ago, I hit wayward shots, which went into the water and out of bounds. The last two years, I tried to stay away from it as much as possible."

Following his drives, Massie knows he must wedge it onto the greens. He accomplishes this by challenging himself in practice.

"You have to keep doing it, a lot of repetition," Massie said. "I go to the practice greens and I play a game with myself, making me feel like I'm on the course when I practice."

The drives and wedges lead to the final part of the game -- the putt. Massie has always found putting to be the most challenging part of his game and believes his success the past three years comes from his improved putting.

"I focus on the hole and what I want to do and block out everything else," Massie said.

Freshman year, he golfed for the JV team. Massie was humbled when he made varsity sophomore year.

"It was exciting when coach gave me the nod and I didn't want to let him down," Massie recalled.

Throughout his success, Massie remains humbled by it and credits Owen and his personal coach from Aspetuck Valley Country Club, Gerard Scheer, for helping him raise his game a few levels. He also pays tribute to those who supported him behind the scenes.

"Coach Owen always had faith in me and told me it would get better," said Massie, in describing how he received support during adverse moments. "He helped keep me positive and it got better."

Playing golf seemed to be his destiny. At 2, he received plastic clubs from his father and at 5, Massie received a 5-iron and started to work on his swing at the Chelsea Pier driving range.

"Golf just came easier to me than anything else," Massie said.

Leadership is a strength of his as he served as Wrecker captain for two years. Massie led mostly by example through his work ethic.

"Kirk's a great kid and a great team player," Owen said. "He's a great leader and super nice kid who has no tolerance for bad behavior on the course and epitomizes good sportsmanship. He took the time to work with me and the younger kids on the team. He wanted to make a difference for Staples golf and himself and he followed through with it."

Academically, he was Staples boys golf's Scholar-Athlete recipient. Massie excelled with his studies while taking two AP classes. Calculus is his favorite subject.

"It's all about scheduling," Massie said. "When you play golf, you play as many holes as you can until dusk. When you get home, you don't have much time and you need to get to work right away."

At Lafayette, he'll be majoring in engineering. Massie will also work on elevating his game.

"Staying focused, staying driven and never losing your drive to get better and improve all the time," said Massie on the key to succeed on the links for the Leopards.

Owen is confident his former golfer will excel in his future endeavors.

"I think Lafayette is a perfect school for Kirk," Owen said. "It's intellectually and academically challenging for him and golf-wise, he'll fit right in. I have no doubt he'll be successful. He's a fine young man and I feel honored to have coached him."