Dettmering hits #5 in Wisconsin.golf junior rankings
Merrill’s Russell Dettmering is gaining statewide notice for his performance on the golf course. The Merrill High School Junior took fifth in the 2018 state tournament and has played well in summer tournaments. Referring to Dettmering as a “low-mileage golfer,” Rob Hernandez of Wisconsin.golf sees a bright future for the Merrill golfer. In Wisconsin.golf’s rankings, Dettmering currently sits fifth in the state among this year’s talented junior class.
In his recent Wisconsin.golf article on the top golfers in Wisconsin’s Class of 2020, Hernandez dedicated several paragraphs to Dettmering. In fact, he even got a mention in the headline: “Arrowhead’s Piercen Hunt stands alone at head of boys Class of 2020, but No. 5 Russell Dettmering of Merrill could be headed his way.”
Hernandez had this to say about Dettmering:
“At No. 5, Dettmering might be the hidden gem in this class. A low-mileage golfer, Dettmering played in just two WPGA Junior points events during 2018, but was impressive in both.
“He was one shot behind Hunt after an opening 70 at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament at University Ridge, closed with a 76 and finished fifth. He won his only other start, shooting 75-71 on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Haven to win the College Showcase by six shots.
“How college coaches view Dettmering as his recruitment heats up remains to be seen. He has played six WPGA Junior points events over the last two years, finished in the top five of each of them and won three, fashioning a 73.6 average with no score higher than a 76 in the process.
“If his volume of tournament play and the rigor with which he schedules remain quiet, there are no fewer than 15 golfers behind him in the rankings update capable of jumping into the top five over the next 12 months. If Dettmering does become more of a presence and more of a factor in the so-called majors on the summer calendar, Hunt could have company at the head of the class.”
In a subsequent interview with the Foto News, Dettmering said he does plan to become more of a presence during the summer tournament season. Now that he’s old enough to drive, that will help him get to more events.
Competing mostly closer to home this past summer, Dettmering’s goals for this summer include trying to qualify for the US Amateur tournament, the U.S. Open and the John Deere Classic.
After his fifth place finish in the 2018 WIAA state tournament, Dettmering’s sights are firmly set on winning in 2019.
“That second day was a rough day,” Russell says of the 2018 state tournament, “but you’ve got to accept what life throws at you. It’s a learning curve.”
With each accomplishment, Russell’s dream of being a professional golfer gets more realistic.
“The PGA has been my goal since I was knee-high,” he said.
While there are various paths to the PGA, Dettmering is shooting for a college scholarship. He has already hired a recruiter to help get his name out to prospective colleges. And, entering more of the summer tournaments will raise his profile as well.
“The WPGA is something college coaches look at,” he said.
He’s hoping to hit at least 20 summer tournaments this year. He’ll play the College Showcase again this year and hopes to qualify for a tour championship.
Dettmering has been swinging a golf club for nearly all his life.
“I got my first set of golf clubs when I was two and I haven’t put them down since,” he said.
His father, Nick, has been an avid golfer for over 20 years. In fact, he put a golf ball in his son’s hands on the day he was born.
Russell won the Wisconsin Valley Conference title as a freshman, and narrowly missed qualifying for the state tournament. He successfully defended his conference title as a sophomore, something he plans to repeat in his junior season.
The golfing highlight for Dettmering remains the first time he shot into the 70s. He recorded his first 79 playing the Junior Optimist tournament in Florida when he was 10 years old.
While he had shown athletic promise in other sports, he’s chosen to concentrate on golf.
“I have to stick to what I do best, and that’s golf,” he said. “I just have to go out there and play my game.”
Dettmering works at Merrill Golf Club during the summers and plays golf every day.
Rob Hernandez started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison and has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in September 2015 and helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in January 2016.