Making a difference . . .

    Saying that a person has achieved legendary status in a particular position or location is a statement often a bit overdone.

    But saying that about John Berry is not the case.

    For those who know John as the General Manager of Adams Springs GC in the Lake County community of Cobb, where he’s been for 10 years, they may or may not know how much he has meant to golf and other activities in his surrounding community.

   John has been a middle school vice-principal, a Lake County middle school league commissioner, a boys’ basketball coach, a longtime golf columnist for the Lake County Record Bee, and the golf coach at Kelseyville High for 40 years.

John Berry


John, with a Political Science and Accounting from Marquette and an M.A. in Educational Administration from USF, was recently honored for his service to the area as he resigned his coaching position . . . and it was well-deserved.

   After the ceremony John took time to write down some of the memories from his time in Lake County for the Record-Bee, and I thought it would be fitting to share those thoughts.

Leaving the best job I ever had

Longtime KHS golf coach honored for 40 years of service

October 21, 2022 

By John Berry

   It was 7:15 p.m. this past Tuesday as I drove away from the Kelseyville School Board meeting. Moments prior, the superintendent of schools, Dave McQueen, and the school board members had presented me with a very nice plaque commemorating my 40 years as the golf coach at Kelseyville High School. At their last board meeting, they had formally accepted my resignation as the head coach at KHS and now they were presenting me with a nice memory of my four decades of service. McQueen said a bunch of nice things about me and my program.

      While I still intend to be as active as I can be in junior golf and high school golf, it was time for me to step away from the head job at KHS golf and let the next generation take over. As I told the future coach, Shane Boehlert, I will continue to help with fundraising, will continue to give lessons to the members of the golf team, most notably in the realm of the short game, and I will still go to the eight league matches and run things for the Coastal Mountain Conference. However, when it’s 38 degrees outside on Feb. 26 on Cobb Mountain, I’ll be taking the day off and skipping practice. I couldn’t do that when I was the head coach.

   Shane has been my assistant coach for the past four years and while I wouldn’t exactly compare us to Joe Montana and Steve Young, he is very knowledgeable about the game, he is great with kids, he teaches at KHS, and he is also serving as the school’s new athletic director. I will be 70 years old when the 2023 spring golf season begins, and I’m pretty sure that some old guy who still talks about “hitting that one on the screws” or compares a kid’s swing to John Daly’s (John who?), needs to take a back seat. Shane is ready to take over and will do great.

   As I was driving away, I started to reminisce about the journey. It was back in 1982 when KHS vice principal Ken Clark hired me to coach golf. While Lloyd Larson and Don Fifer had looked out for the golf team in those days prior to my hiring, KHS wasn’t in a league, played a couple of home and away matches with Colusa and Ukiah high schools, and on occasion took a few individuals to the new North Coast Section playoffs at Sunol Valley in the East Bay.

   Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my first team was loaded with talent. The team included Mike Lyndall, Jack Paulson, Tim Matthews, Joe Bishop and Arlin Gregorio. Fort Bragg and Middletown added teams that year, we played home-and-away dual matches with them, Kelseyville won a winner-take-all CMC Tournament at Hidden Valley Lake, and I was off to NCS in Sunol with my team. I was still in my 20s, golf courses were saturated from the winter storms of 1982-83, we had a 14-match schedule, and beat Ukiah for the first time ever in the pouring rain at Buckingham. I was having a whole lot of fun coaching. I didn’t know that I was going to be around 40 years later, but the whole thing was a very positive experience.

   As time went on, the KHS program got known for its degree of talent. The best way to compare the top high school golf programs is to enter invitational tournaments and Kelseyville started getting invites. We came in third at the Rancho Cotate Tournament and Lyndall finished as the second low individual. Suddenly we started to get into tourneys hosted by Ukiah, San Leandro, Marin Catholic and the like. I stuck out my neck and decided to take a gamble with road trips. Over the years KHS played multiple years in tournaments at Lompoc, Atascadero, Hilmar and Tracy. That not only meant that we were running into the likes of DeLaSalle, Villanova, Cypress (the school that had E. Woods on their team) and Santa Margarita, but it also meant we were staying at the local Motel 6, playing practice rounds on the Sunday before the tournament, and hitting the buffet line at the Sizzler. Fundraising suddenly became a major part of the job. The field in the Lake County Amateur started stepping up and kindly donating their winnings to the high school program. We were hot stuff.

   For whatever reason, golf was cool on the high school level during the 1990s and the turn of the century. In the 1990s, the KHS golfers included all-Redwood Empire linksters such as Shawn Auten, Brels Solomon, Aaron Speed, Jonathan Carlson and Nick Hamilton. As the new century began, things seemed to remain the same with a lineup that included Adam Guisti and Jose Perez. From 1995 through 2002, KHS won seven of eight CMC titles. The golf team would win three more from 2006 through 2009 with a super strong team featuring Brent Hamilton, Schuyler Whitesell, Nick Schaefer, Jonathan Bridges and Hipolito Perez Jr. That team advanced twice into the second level of the state playoffs. During the course of the last 10 years there were a number of individual talents playing golf at KHS, including Corey Huber, Wyatt Ferrell, Cory Holt and Matt Wotherspoon. Regardless of talent, I coached a lot of really great kids.

   Golf in the CMC is co-ed and Kelseyville High School has had its share of talented girl golfers, most notably Jennifer Harvey, Sophie Sells and Liz Berry. My daughter Liz contended that she had a much better time playing girls golf in the fall than co-ed golf in the spring and she qualified for NCS girls three times in the autumn. It made for some nice dad-daughter moments.

  When I was with the Board, chairman Rick Winer asked me to give a speech. I knew the backup board agenda was 285 pages long and I had no intention of taking a good deal of their time. However, my greatest accomplishment as a coach was that I offered great experiences to the KHS golfers, playing as far north as at the Fortuna Tournament and as far south as at the Lompoc Tourney. Those experiences morphed into the fact that we were able to provide these Kelseyville kids with memories of a lifetime. In my current role at Adams Springs Golf Course, I run into many of the KHS alum. It’s a nice walk down memory lane for me to reminisce with them. As I drove away on Tuesday, looking at a very cool plaque and recalling the very thoughtful speech that Dave McQueen had just given, I shed a tear. I had just resigned from the best job I ever had.


The rebuilt clubhouse at Adams Springs


John was at Adams Springs, a 5,280-yard nine-hole course, when the Valley Fire devastated the area in early October, 2015, including causing considerable structural damage to the golf course.

   John recalled “total rubble” at the time, as well as “great stress” on the greens from prolonged lack of water.

   But John and the golf course dealt with the problems and things are pretty much back to normal at Adams Springs although memories of the fire will always be part of the history.

  If you happen to be up that way, you might want to stop by the golf course, to meet John and say thanks for his efforts.

Thanksgiving Day Shotgun (North Course)




    8:30 a.m. Shotgun. This is not a tournament, but a fun way to spend some time with family or friends before the Thanksgiving festivities! 

Paid player receives: 1 round w/cart on the North Course, range bucket, sleeve of Srixon balls, breakfast sandwich w/coffee. Cost $300 foursome, $225 threesome, $150 twosome,$75 single.

Let’s hear from you . . .

Thanks for your comments, questions and suggestions. I appreciate
them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have
information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics,
activities, tournaments or sales, let me know.
And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in
our area, let me know and I’ll make some inquiries. Email me