Ryan Patnoe, Milbank High School alumnus and standout Bulldog golfer, has turned his golf career in another direction and is following in his father, Randy’s, footsteps. He was recently hired as the head boys’ golf coach for Aberdeen Roncalli and completed his first tournament in that role this week.
“An opening was posted, I applied, and was hired,” explained Ryan. This position is a first for him. Throughout his initial three years of college at Northern State University, he had not coached the sport he loves. When the opportunity arose, he jumped at it.
The Cavaliers began practice late last week. With only three under its belt, the team competed at the POET Invitational on Ryan’s home golf course, Pine Hills, which his dad owns and operates. “It was a nice way to start my coaching career,” he mentioned.
Golf has been a big part of Ryan’s entire life. He picked up a golf club and began playing when he was just two years old. “I had a set of little metal clubs that my dad made me.” He competed in tournaments throughout his childhood years and went on to be a star player for the Bulldogs. He finished in 15th place at the state Class A golf tournament his freshman year of high school. He took sixth place as a sophomore and was third as a junior. Ryan completed his high school career with a runner-up title as a senior, in October of 2011.
Patnoe extended his golf career into college. He played on the men’s golf team for the NSU Wolves his freshman season before the program was cut from the school’s collegiate athletics because of funding. This was a huge disappointment for him.
Ryan sees himself implementing similar teaching and coaching styles he was taught by his dad. “I like to teach fundamentals like my dad always has,” he explained. “I also take away my players’ cell phones before a tournament, like my dad did.”
Coach Patnoe also hopes to instill in his players other concepts that he was taught and experienced throughout his career. “I want to teach that golf is more of a mental game,” he stated. “The kids need to learn to play against the course and not the competition. They need to get into a routine.” He finds similarities between himself and professional golfer Dustin Johnson. “Dustin is a lot like me, I think, he’s very talented, but has a tough time winning.”
Ryan, his dad, his mother Robin, and sister Rachel enjoy spending time together as a family on the golf course. “It tends to get very competitive between my dad and me,” noted Ryan. “We have a huge rivalry.” The grudges between them do not subside until the next outing when it starts all over again, he explained.
Patnoe has not spent as much time on the golf course recently, since getting married to his wife, Whitney, on June 20. “There just isn’t as much time to golf now that I’m married,” he chuckled. When he does get the chance to play, he prefers Rolling Hills Golf Club in Aberdeen. Now that he is coaching, he may find more time to freshen up his skills along with his team when they practice at Moccasin Creek.
Ryan will graduate in May from NSU with a degree in International Business and Finance. He hopes to become a trader and wants to remain in Aberdeen. Because golf is in his blood, he hopes to continue coaching, as well. “Once I find a job, if my employer allows it, I would love to continue to coach.”