Each year, thousands of YOC Alumni pack up their rooms, say goodbye to their families and head off on their next big adventure, college. College can be an exciting time, filled with new people, new opportunities and new experiences, but for some YOC Alumni it can also be a time when golf clubs begin to spend more time in a closet than on a course. For many of our alumni, the thought of turning 19 and knowing that their membership is coming to an end, can be a sad reality.
However, for some YOC alumni, finding community and keeping their clubs out of storage in their parent’s garage comes in the form of club golf.
Ryan Schaefer, Freshman at Boston College
Moving across the country and experiencing his first New England winter was something that Ryan Schaefer, a first year business student at Boston College, was prepared for. “Thankfully the weather has been okay so far, I think it might be colder at home in California right now than Boston.” Ryan, originally from Burlingame California made the move to Boston earlier this year and immediately became involved in the highly competitive club team on campus. “It was actually a really competitive process, there were over 100 people that tried out for 10-12 spots and I was fortunate enough to earn one.” He knew he wanted to experience something different and his decision to attend Boston College was due in large part to wanting to experience different cultures and have the opportunities to attend D1 sporting events and be part of a larger college environment, but leaving California and some of his favorite golf courses was going to be hard.
“I played a ton of golf during COVID and was able to play some amazing courses, some of my friends out here in Boston can’t believe that I got to play Harding Park for $5 and my favorite course, Half Moon Bay.” Ryan was an avid baseball player and it wasn’t until an injury in the sport that he found his love for golf. Making the switch to golf from baseball was a an adjustment, but the opportunities that the sport provided helped him in more ways that he thought it would, “ it was an adjustment, playing an individual sport and not a team one, I really enjoyed the opportunity to do my own thing and it really helped me develop patience and self control while I was out there.”
Beyond the personal development that golf has brought to Ryan, he is really excited about how the game might help him and his future and professional endeavors as well, “ I know that golf is one of the best ways to meet new people, to cross generational gaps and help with connections, I came to Boston College because I wanted to be part of the Carroll School of Management and I wanted to be part of a strong club team, and I know that both of those things are going to be really important for my future as a professional.”
Caden Truelick, Junior at Arizona State University
For Arizona State University Junior Caden Truelick, his experience with club golf began a few years ago and is set to begin his second term as club president. “I was always a competitive golfer and when it came time to make some decisions about college, I wanted to go to ASU and I was excited about the opportunity to join the club team. Caden, a data science major, has continued to find ways to stay engaged in the game that has brought him so much enjoyment. “I have been able to connect with so many people, so many golfers on teams like GCU and UNLV and it’s a lot more than just going to play, it is a real community.”
When Caden is not leading his club team, running tryouts, booking travel, collecting dues or playing in tournaments, he works part time with PXG in data analytics operations, helping to improve efficiency for the company. “I began as a process engineer intern and was fortunate enough to be asked to remain on staff and I get to combine my major and something I love, golf at the same time. It has been really great to be able to bring some of my work experience into the classroom and some of my academic focus into golf.”
As club president, Caden continues to help the team progress and compete at a high level “We finished 10th last year at nationals and we have a lot of guys that can compete with some NCAA golfers but we are able to keep it in a more relaxed atmosphere. “We usually have two or three tournaments out of town that require some travel but it allows our team to compete and experience some places that you might not have otherwise visited.” This semester Caden will also become the Desert Region Ambassador and he will manage rosters, connect with golf courses for practice rounds and manage finances, all of which are actively helping him and his growth as a leader. “ I feel like I was made for this in a way, I felt like I really wanted this position and I fit the mold the best, I didn’t know what I was going to do until my senior year of high school and I found this and felt like it was a really good fit.”
Both Ryan and Caden knew that their Youth on Course membership would come to an end, but like many others, they knew that wasn’t the end of their golf journey. Finding a community and building meaningful connections on a college campus can be really challenging, but club golf has been a way for both of them to stay engaged in the sport they love and grow both on personal and professional levels. There are many YOC Alumni that have similar experiences or perhaps are on the precipice of their college experience and are looking for a similar community. The National Collegiate Club Golf Association is a national organization working with over 400 institutions to help college club golf grow and like Ryan and Caden, there are a number of young men and women who are signing up to play.