It seems an unlikely situation, but the junior golf pipeline to the Rocky Mountain College golf program is flowing very well. The men’s and women’s teams recently swept the trophies at the Frontier Conference tourney at Reflection Bay Golf Club with the help of a Vegas Golfer. More local help is on the way for next season.
Will Dexheimer, a former Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association standout and Shadow Ridge High alum, finished third in the conference tourney and was named 1st Team All Conference. The freshman enjoyed his time in Billings, Montana, and relishes the chance to return to Las Vegas a few times a year to play in events hosted at Reflection Bay in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain program.
“It is just a really good environment and I love head coach (Nathan) Bailey,” Dexheimer says. “He’s a really good dude and a good golf guy. Playing in Montana has been amazing besides the winter months, but everything in the fall was really great. The courses were great and the competition was good, so I had a good time.”
Bailey, Rocky Mountain’s head men’s and women’s coach, was named Frontier Conference Coach of the Year for both programs. He continues to build the Las Vegas to Rocky Mountain golf road and says Eric Dutt, Reflection Bay director of operations, has been very supportive and opened up relationships with the High Performance Golf Institute. The Institute features an expansive practice facility at Lake Las Vegas and is headlined by former Tour pros Craig Barlow and Jeff Gallagher in addition to club fitters Brendan Bergin and Bradley Keyer (a former Coronado High golfer). Also, RecruitLook scout Tommy Canale has been helpful in sharing the Rocky Mountain message with potential recruits.
“Having great people down here to connect with and helping us with the recruiting process has been huge for our program,” Bailey says. “It’s a great opportunity to come down and have people who want to give back and help us. We are very blessed to have this opportunity.”
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Dexheimer first learned about Rocky Mountain because his good friend and former Bishop Gorman golfer Jake Johnson was and is on the team. The Vegas connection continues for next season as locals Jaret Smith and Nolan Wilson have committed. The annual trips by the program to Reflection Bay are a huge enticement.
“Reflection Bay is great to play and it’s awesome, and it is nice to see my family and have them come out and support me when we come back here to play and practice,” Dexheimer says. “It was one of the main reasons why I did choose to go there.”
The course not only hosts events for Rocky Mountain, but the facility is opened up to them in other ways.
“We love the school and it has a very strong athletic program,” says Dutt, whose granddaughter attends Rocky Mountain. “We love having the kids down here, and it is rewarding to know that they will have four players from Las Vegas on the men’s team next year. That is a great opportunity for those kids. We like hosting the tournaments so the parents and grandparents get to see them play. They are one of the better small schools in the country in the NAIA division and we like trying to help them become better.”
Bailey believes in Rocky Mountain, and the men’s and women’s teams have won a combined 12-straight conference titles. They now each head to the national championships.
“It’s a great school and we put a lot of expectations on academics, so the kids are going to get a great education,” Bailey says. “And we are also committed to building a championship program. And for the Las Vegas kids, I think knowing that they will have the chance to play at home a couple times a year is important.”