OSU’s collegiate success paves way to pro tour
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
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For years, Cowboy and Cowgirl golf alumni have found great success on the PGA and LPGA Tours, but their preparation for those events begins long before they tee it up professionally for the first time.
“We have lots of guys to point to that have lived out that same dream,” Oklahoma State men’s golf coach Alan Bratton said. “That empowers kids to think that they can do it. It also empowers me as a coach to encourage kids to be coachable, to work and to listen. If they do all those things, they can live out that dream, as well.”
The culture of the Cowboy and Cowgirl golf programs helps prepare current student athletes for life on tour, both on and off the course. A player’s skills are a major part of their success as a professional golfer, but how they carry themselves off the course and their work ethic is something both Bratton and OSU women’s golf coach Greg Robertson stress to athletes during their time in Stillwater.
“Whether it’s in the golf world, the business world or just being a parent, we feel it is our job to prepare them for that,” Robertson said. “We focus on personal responsibility, discipline and accountability. We want them to learn to work hard and have the right attitude in everything that they do. All of that can carry over into any aspect of life.”
OSU’s most recent major winner came on the LPGA Tour with Pernilla Lindberg clinching the 2018 ANA Inspiration and Cowgirl golf came close to giving OSU its first female NCAA championship in 2021, finishing as national runner-up.
The impact the OSU golf programs have on players can be seen in the success they have achieved on the course in recent years. There are Cowboys and Cowgirls near the top of professional leaderboards nearly every week, including up-and-comer Matthew Wolff.
Wolff was a freshman on the Cowboys’ 11th national championship team in 2018, which OSU won on its home course of Karsten Creek Golf Club. He has taken what he has learned to the PGA Tour.
Wolff won his first PGA Tour event in July 2019 at the 3M Open and nearly gave Cowboy golf its first major winner in over 30 years when he finished second at the 2020 US Open and tied for fourth at the 2020 PGA Championship.
Wolff said he draws on his experiences at OSU to help him throughout his professional career.
“Oklahoma State is the best golf program in the country,” Wolff said. “The legacy is unlike anything I’ve seen. I immediately connected with Coach Bratton and assistant coach [Donnie] Darr. I knew their leadership, the impressive practice facilities and access to Karsten Creek would help me develop into the best player I could be.”
In addition to the instruction and the facilities OSU provides, Bratton recognizes a big piece of his job in facilitating the success of his players is surrounding them with teammates who will always push them forward.
“The culture of excellence here allows us to surround them with other really good players,” Bratton said. “That is the best resource we can provide. We surround them with players that are like-minded. They will dream big and work hard.”
Players also remain connected and drive each other toward success after they leave campus. This connection helps fuel competition and a strong bond thanks to the closeness of the Cowboy family.
“It’s motivating, for sure,” Wolff said. “We have so many great players out on tour. We are all still very competitive with one another, which makes us better.”
Photos by: Courtesy of PGA and Bruce Waterfield
Story by: Will Carr | STATE Magazine