Special “K” is in the House

A Closer look at math teacher and golf coach Mr. Jay Kletecka


Q. What is golf?

A. Focus and concentration on hitting a small ball into a hole in the lowest amount of strokes possible. A game of course management, as someone once said !

Q. What is your favorite movie, and why?

A. Major League—Ricky Vaughn, Willie Mays Hayes, Pedro Cerrano, Roger Dorn—when it came out in 1989, the first shot was of downtown Cleveland.  I remember being in the movie theater with everyone cheering and clapping, how proud they were of our town.


Q. You have been described as “a warm and approachable coach.” How do you feel about that characterization? Also, what are thoughts concerning that characterization?

A. Coaching golf and coaching baseball, both things I have done, take a completely different approach. In baseball or football you get fired up when you coach, not so much with golf. There is an etiquette to the game of golf that should be followed at all times. Getting fired up is not part of that. I am okay with that characterization; everyone approaches things differently.  Same goes for the golfers; they have their own approach to the game. That is why you have positive conversations about those things, sometimes even after a bad round of golf.


Q. How has your experience as a math teacher helped you understand the game of golf?

A. Golf is a game of numbers. From the hole’s total yards, to the distance of your drive, to the distance from the hole, to the distance of your putt or your chip into the hole. You need to understand how far away you are from the hole and which club to use in the right situation to control your distance to the hole.


Q. In what ways has seeing Happy Gilmore changed your life?

A. Not to walk to close to ponds or lakes down in the South (watch out for those alligators).  It’s made me understand what a “happy place” is, [that] a golf ball is too good for its own home, and [that] it’s all in the hips!


Q. But, seriously, how great is that movie?

A. I have to go to my roots on this one and say Caddyshack is still better. However, for your generation you could probably say Happy Gilmore is the new Caddyshack.  If you are a golf fan reading this and [have] never heard of Caddyshack, you need to check [it out on] Netflix.


Q. What would be the math equivalent of Happy Gilmore? 

A. A Box and Whisker Plot that has Outliers—Happy Gilmore is definitely an Outlier.


Q. What is/are the goal(s) of the golf club/team this year/season?

A. We wanted to improve our overall team score average, improve in the CVC standings this year and try and make Districts as a team.


Q. What do you think the chances are of achieving that goal?

A. We greatly improved our team average by cutting 10 strokes this year. We did finish last in the CVC. However, we were much more competitive from a team standpoint.  We lost 3 CVC matches by only a few strokes. We did not qualify for Districts as a team, nor did anyone this year, individually.


Q. What will you continue to do to help the golf team reach its goal?

A. We will keep at our goals, including working over the summer. [On] Wednesdays in June and July, we will be out early before the season starts, working on putting, chipping, irons, driving, and golf course management.


Q. How similar is mini-golf to regular golf?

A. Mini golf is one club, the putter. In regular golf 14 clubs are allowed. Hitting your driver is fun, which for me makes regular golf more fun. Plus, you get to yell out the word “fore” when you hit a bad shot headed towards people. More skill is definitely involved in regular golf.  A hole in one is earned, let’s say.


Q. Many important and significant critics argue that mini-golf is, “Way better than regular golf.”  What’s your response?

A. It’s faster. They have boards so your ball automatically stays on the hole (unless you blast it off course), and you can play at night.  Night golf is fun; the sun is not beating down on you.