By David Fong
TROY — Nate Uhlenbrock figured if he ever played golf in college, he’d be paying the greens fees to do it on the weekends with his buddies.
At no point did the Troy High School senior think he’d ever be a member of a college golf team.
“That was not the plan,” Uhlenbrock said. “My plan was just to go to college for college. I was going to go to school at Miami University. I figured maybe I would play club golf with some of my friends. I hadn’t really planned on playing golf for a college team. But now I’m going to be getting the best of both worlds.”
A chance meeting during a practice round last month changed everything for Uhlenbrock, who now will be attending Miami University Hamilton and playing for Miami’s regional campus golf team.
“I met a golf coach during a practice round for districts,” Uhlenbrock said. “He knew the (Miami Hamilton) coach and put me in touch with him.”
That coach was Dr. Quentin Stapp, a PGA professional. He was impressed enough by what he saw from Uhlenbrock during that practice round to put him in touch with Miami Hamilton coach David Moore. From there, things began to happen in a hurry for Uhlenbrock, who made the decision to play college golf in the past few weeks. Thursday, he signed his national letter of intent during the NCAA’s early signing period.
“It’s been a crazy month,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Uhlenbrock was Troy’s No. 2 golfer this season, averaging a 38.24 per 9-hole round, sixth-best in the entire Greater Western Ohio Conference. He was named to both the All-GWOC and All-GWOC American League first teams following the season. His junior season, Uhlenbrock averaged a 39.92 (17th best in the GWOC) and was named to the All-GWOC America League first team.
Uhlenbrock has been golfing since he was a young child, but didn’t begin playing competitive golf until he got to high school. As such, Troy coach Mark Evilsizor thinks Uhlenbrock has plenty of room to grow in college.
”He’s definitely got a lot of upside,” Evilsizor said. “He’s improved so much, even just between his junior and senior year. He is a hard worker who I think will only get better in college. Golf is such a mental sport, and that’s one thing he definitely excels at. He doesn’t get too nervous and he doesn’t get too mad at himself when things aren’t going well. I think he’s going to do great in college.”
Uhlenbrock said he’ll be taking classes at both the Miami University main campus in Oxford and the regional campus in Hamilton next fall. He’ll do that for two years, then transfer full-time to the main campus. He said he hopes that his game continues to improve and that if he does well for the Harriers the next two years, he’ll have the opportunity to play for the RedHawks his final two years of school.
“That’s definitely something I’d like to do,” he said. “But if not, I’ll still be going to the school I want to go to.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong