Skiers assistant coach taking over |

Skiers assistant coach taking over

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN Henry Adams decided to retire at the end of last year after seven years as head coach of the Aspen golf team. He and the school didn’t have to look far to find a replacement.Athletic director Carol Sams recently named Gary Snyder, Adams’ longtime assistant, new head coach. The appointment, which was made after at least one other potential candidate was interviewed, drew rave reviews from Snyder’s predecessor Saturday.”I’m tickled to death that Carol Sams appointed him,” said Adams from Tallahassee, Fla., where he now resides. “She asked me for a recommendation, and he was my number one guy.”Adams’ family coaxed the 60-year-old, who worked at the Limelight Lodge, to retire during a Thanksgiving gathering last year. He made the tough decision to leave Aspen after 20 years and return to Florida where his daughter and his two grandchildren live; his son lives four hours away in Atlanta.”My family told me it was time to come home and be with the grand kids,” Adams said. “I made up my mind, and it all happened so fast.

“I’m going to miss Aspen Junior Golf, and I’m going to miss those high school boys. I loved working with them, and I love the game of golf.”As soon as he reached a decision, Adams contacted Sams to campaign for Snyder, who seemed like the natural fit. Snyder has been an assistant for the past few years and has already garnered his team’s admiration. “All the kids love Gary. He’s a very likable guy and a great coach,” Adams said. Snyder is also an accomplished player. The Wisconsin native, who has a handicap of 1 1/2, competed at Division I University of Northern Iowa and currently competes on the United States Golf Association’s state senior tour. Snyder continues to tweak his own game – he was refining his putting stroke early Sunday morning on a local practice green. He’s excited about the challenge of helping his young players sharpen their own skills.”This is a nice thing to do for kids, and I think I have something to offer them,” Snyder said. “I still compete, so I know these courses, and I want to teach them about the short game and the mental aspects of the game.

“I’m looking forward to developing my own philosophy.”His instruction will focus on fine-tuning the short game, Snyder said. Because the fall season is so short – practice begins Aug. 6 and the team will compete in 12 tournaments during the regular season, culminating with the Aspen Invitational on Sept. 10 – there isn’t enough time to overhaul swings. Cutting down mistakes on and around the greens will be paramount, he said. “We’re going to practice more than we play,” he said. “Most people go to the range and are beating the ball and developing bad habits. I don’t think kids practice enough on the things that will help them get the most out of their games.”Snyder inherits a young team that limped to the finish last fall. While rival Basalt walked off Delta’s Devil’s Thumb Golf Club on Sept. 20 with the 4A regional tournament title, no Aspen golfer cracked 90; the state individual qualifying mark was 82. Aspen finished 12th in the 19-team field.

Snyder said he still isn’t sure just who will turn out when practice begins in early August. He’s certain, however, that the area has the talent to compete at the state level.He already has at least one believer.”I think the high school team will do really well this year and be in championship form next year,” Adams said. “Gary’s leadership will take them there.”For more information on Skiers golf, contact Snyder at 710-9028.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is

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