CCA’s Ryan family reaches top-tier status in junior golf
Flexibility of CCA allows Josh and Caleb Ryan to excel as competitive golfers.
Golf opens doors – to travel, to character building, to friendships. The Ryan family of West Norriton, Montgomery County, has found that CCA fits a lifestyle centered around high-level play that could propel two sons, Caleb and Josh, to collegiate-level competition and careers in golf.
“It’s a great sport,” their mom, Michelle Ryan, said. “It’s taught them a lot of really good things. We’ve had a good time doing it. We’ve traveled to some really neat places.”
Michelle and Kevin Ryan are parents of three boys enrolled at CCA – Josh, class of 2021; Daniel, class of 2020; and Caleb, class of 2019. The family has tried brick-and-mortar schools, but the lack of individual academic attention and the need to schedule their days around golf tournaments and practice led them to CCA when Caleb was a freshman.
“We like CCA because of the flexibility and because we have three very different learners,” Michelle said.
One son is an advanced student, another has autism and one has a learning disability.
“I can tailor to their specific needs, take more time on a subject and capitalize on their strengths,” she said. “Being a part of their school allows me to be part of their education.”
Josh and Caleb have been competitive golfers since their early elementary years. Her middle son, Daniel, joins the family on the course, but his interests lean toward books, robotics and building with Legos.
Caleb said CCA’s flexibility provides the time to work on his game, gain exposure on the competitive circuit and pursue rankings that get the attention of college recruiters.
“The flexibility is key,” he said. “It’s great to know every day that you’re not bogged down for six or seven hours. Golf is a game of perfection. You try to perfect each aspect of your game. I work on everything.”
Golf is also a “gentleman’s game” that has introduced Caleb and Josh to life lessons, such as maintaining poise in the face of misfortune, Michelle said.
“We talk to a lot of college coaches, and they say that everyone’s going to have a bad day on the golf course,” she said. “What they’re looking at is how you respond. Are you going to be a knucklehead about it, slamming clubs and yelling at people? Or are you going to move on and try to come back from it? That’s the thing we’ve tried to impress on the kids since they were small. Your attitude is everything.”
Caleb and Josh have racked up significant accomplishments. Both have twice been Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour player of the year and holders of the circuit’s Sam Penecale scoring average leader award.
Josh’s feats in national championships and the PGA’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship have earned him coverage in Sports Illustrated for Kids and on Golf Channel. Caleb’s athletic and academic prowess won him an exclusive invitation to play in the pro-am segment of an event on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental league for young pros.
The Ryan boys bring different strengths to the game. Josh is tenacious and a good long-ball hitter. Caleb has a strong short game. They compete but also are best friends, often caddying for each other.
Caleb wants to pursue a golf career and is talking to coaches at NCAA Division I, II and III schools. He would like to play at a school offering not only competitive opportunities but also the PGA-supported degree program in professional golf management.
One of Caleb and Josh’s instructors has been their grandfather, John McCombs, who “brought us up in golf,” Josh said. Josh enjoys the game’s “competitiveness, and the fun. You get to go out with your friends,” he said.
Golf etiquette teaches life lessons, too.
“You have to call the penalties on yourself in golf,” Josh said. “It’s all up to you if you want to cheat or be fair. You want to always be fair to yourself and your competitors.”
CCA is a great fit with his golf pursuits, Josh said. Even his favorite subject — math — gets a workout on the golf course, through problem-solving and seeing how hard you have to swing and the distance on your shots.
“It’s very flexible,’’ Josh said. “They help you move your schedule around if you need to get to the golf course.”
With all the family travel to tournaments, whether they’re in Arizona or Georgia or North Carolina, Josh, Caleb and Daniel can keep pace with their schoolwork through recorded virtual lessons and catch up with teachers by phone, Michelle said.
“Golf is something we all love to do together,” she said. “We’ve watched what they’ve learned on and off the course. We’ve made so many amazing lifelong friends through golf. Our kids have grown up with them, and they’ll probably compete against them when they’re old men.”