Some athletes do not discover their love for one sport until retiring from a previous one. This is what happened to junior mathematics major Jacob Wade, who took up golf after his baseball career ended.
“My dad played [golf] for business, and he would take me to golf tournaments,” Wade said. “I played it with him growing up because it was fun. I played baseball through junior high and I got hurt. I went to golf and never looked back. It’s one of the greatest decisions I ever made.”
Wade went on to letter in all four years of high school golf. His extended playing time helped prepare him to play at a higher level at the University of Dallas.
“You get a good sense of competitive golf,” Wade said. “In high school you play 36-hole tournaments. In college you go up to 54 holes, so it’s still a change, but the four years of extra experience playing competitive golf makes you better, and it really helped me get used to it in college.”
Wade played in five tournaments in the Fall 2016 season, six tournaments in the Spring 2017 season, and 11 tournaments in the 2017-18 school year. He tied for 4th at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship and was awarded MVP of the men’s golf team for the 2017-18 school year.
“It starts back to high school with practicing every day, through the summer, and through every day,” Wade said. “Last year I really hit a stride in ball-striking. I practiced every day with short game putting and chipping. I hit my stride in the spring season which lead to a lot of great scores in a lot of great tournaments. Practicing the short game is overlooked by a lot of people, but it’s a very key part of golf.”
Third year head coach Garrett Smith keeps tabs on the players, helping them fix errors and adapt during each tournament.
“Before each tournament he gives us each a practice schedule,” Wade said. “Usually for me my practice is encased in putting and chipping. He will assign the practice to the weak points in our game, and then have us work on them before a tournament. Then, while we’re at a tournament playing practice rounds he takes notes for himself. When we’re playing in the tournament, he’ll come to each of us individually at different holes and help us out with the notes he has taken.”
Finally, Wade commented on some of his goals for the men’s golf team before graduating.
“My biggest goal would be to be able to go to nationals as a team,” Wade said. “I’ve got two years left and I think this is a big year to make a stride towards there. We’ve got to start being more consistent. We have the scores, but we just can’t put them together in one tournament. I would also personally like to win nationals and get that next level experience. Being at nationals alone would be amazing. Very few people get to go there. I’d love to set a record for the school too.”