MANCHESTER, Maine — Sam Grindle is a young man of many athletic talents.
The June graduate of Deer Isle-Stonington High School began his senior year setting the pace for the Mariners golf team. He capped off the fall by winning the Class D individual state championship by shooting a 4-under-par 68 at Natanis Golf Course’s Arrowhead layout.
During the winter months, Grindle served as the point guard for the Deer Isle-Stonington basketball team. He eclipsed 1,000 career points during his final season and helped coach Glenn Billings’ Mariners earn the No. 4 seed in Eastern Maine Class D.
They bowed out in the regional quarterfinals, but Grindle was named a BDN All-Maine honorable mention, played in the McDonalds East-West All-Star Game and was a PVC All-Academic honoree.
When the spring season rolled around, Grindle took a leading role for the Deer Isle-Stonington baseball squad. He was the team’s ace pitcher, earning All-Penobscot Valley Conference Class D first-team recognition for coach Darren Eaton.
However, the sport that has the most potential for Grindle’s future is golf.
This week, competing against the state’s best amateur players, he shot a 3-over 213 and tied for fourth place at the 94th Maine Amateur Championship at Augusta Country Club.
“I didn’t strike the ball my best and I didn’t make a lot of putts,” Grindle said shortly after completing the tournament on Thursday.
“The first two days I had a lot of good chances, but didn’t make a lot of them. That was pretty much the story of the week, not making putts, but I’m happy with my play,” he said.
The performance was the most recent example of Grindle’s continued improvement on the links. He had tied for 12th place in his Maine Amateur debut in 2012 at Sunday River.
“Having played last year and making the cut into the final day helped a lot,” he said. “I didn’t have to deal with very many nerves this year.”
He finished tied for fifth in the 2012 Maine Junior Championship’s ages 15-17 division after taking 17th in the 2011 Junior event.
“I’m working my way up,” he said.
Grindle started playing golf as a youngster, hitting balls around in his backyard. His parents, Peter and Suzette, both played, and Island Country Club was located nearby.
“Living on Deer Isle, a small island, we have a small, nine-hole course and I could walk to it as a kid,” Grindle said.
Not only did he have the opportunity to play, golf was an activity he could share with his good friend Connor Morey and his cousin Ethan Shepard.
“In the summer, before we started working, it was every day we’d go up together,” Grindle said. “They’re both good golfers and it helps to be around good competition.”
Even though Grindle may have taken his game to a slightly higher level, the trio still has some good matches.
“They’re close enough where it’s a good challenge every time out,” he said.
Until now, golf has been only one part — albeit a critical one — of Grindle’s athletics repertoire. Now he’s ready to commit to golf on a more regular basis.
Armed in part with a scholarship he earned as the winner of the Winchenbach Award, presented by the Maine State Golf Association to its top scholar-athlete, Grindle will attend college in Florida, where he can play the game year-round.
“This fall I’m going down to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and I’m going to try and walk on to the golf team there,” Grindle said.
He hopes to earn a spot on the roster with the NCAA Division II program. Even though he isn’t sure what he wants to study, Deer Isle-Stonington’s 2013 class salutatorian said he knows he is likely to get further educated on the golf course.
“I’m excited to get down there and see some good competition and see how I stack up against it and just take it from there,” Grindle said.