Baldwin celebrates reopening of indoor golf practice room

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Friday, December 20, 2019 | 7:08 PM


It has been a labor of love for former Baldwin golf coach Jim Stanko.

Not only did he have tireless passion for the game of golf and the Baldwin boys golf team, he also developed a bond to the indoor golf room located in the Wallace Building.

Stanko, who retired in 2013 after 25 years of coaching, established the golf facility in 1990. Originally, it consisted of just a net and hitting mat. With the help of state grants, the facility grew and improved dramatically over the years.

Last month, Baldwin celebrated a grand reopening of the newly renovated site, which was named aptly in honor of Stanko, a Baldwin Athletic Hall of Fame inductee in 2013.

“Coach Stanko laid the foundation for coach (Steve) Sinning to make all of the renovations possible,” said John Saras, Baldwin’s athletic coordinator and assistant principal. “The golf room is state of the art and a valuable resource to the Baldwin-Whitehall golfing community. “Opportunities to utilize the golf room will be extended to the community year-round.”

Stanko, a Bethel Park resident, taught fifth- and sixth-grade in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District for 32 years, retiring in 1997.

During his distinguished tenure as Baldwin’s golf coach, Stanko logged almost 400 victories. His teams won eight section titles and were section runners-up 10 times.

Stanko also coached and help develop two WPIAL individual golf champions — Andy Latowski and Zach Taylor.

Sinning, an English teacher at Baldwin and the Highlanders’ current golf coach, was instrumental in modernizing the golf room — with much assistance.

“Back when Mr. Stanko created the golf room, it was the best indoor high school facility in Western Pennsylvania,” Sinning said. “When we set out to update it, we wanted to return it to that status. Over the last year, we as a team and booster organization made the decision to raise funds to improve our facility.

“Through the efforts of players, parents and coaches, we were able to raise over $8,000 to complete the transformation. Over the last year and a half, we have added two simulators and a professional putting green. In August, we ripped out our old green and had Southwest Greens install a professional surface that includes a defined slope.

“The new additions make practicing golf inside more fun and effective. Now, we have actual data to help us make adjustments while finding creative ways to compete indoors.”

M&J Electrical, a local business, is the golf room sponsor.

“The renovations will continue to provide unique opportunities for student-athletes in our golf program,” Saras said. “Coach Sinning, in conjunction with the work of his student-athletes, parents, booster organization, alumni and community organizations, worked tirelessly to make the renovations possible.

“He took the vision and work of former coach Jim Stanko and modernized the golf room.”

The facility has hosted numerous clinics for students in grades K-8 in the Baldwin-Whitehall area.

Organizations such as Special Olympics of Allegheny Country and First Tee of Pittsburgh utilize it in the winter months.

The golf room is open to the general public on Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Here is a link to additional Baldwin golf room photos:

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