College Men

Player Diary: California's Joel Stalter (Part 8)

California's Joel Stalter
California's Joel Stalter ( Tracy Wilcox )

Monday, April 21, 2014

It is now an exciting time to be in college golf, whether it is in or outside the ropes. Looking back, I still wonder where this year has gone and it is even harder to believe we only have two weeks of school left.

Hard for me to say this, but it was quite a performance by Stanford last weekend at the Western Intercollegiate. Hats off to them. They assuredly made a statement, which can only motivates us to get better and ready to defend our title at this week’s Pac-12 Championship in Tucson, Ariz.

Pasatiempo Golf Club is truly a unique place, designed by legendary Alister Mackenzie and located in the beautiful forest of Santa Cruz. Not only it is an elite collegiate event, but also a challenging test of golf that happily brings you down to your knees. We were blessed with many Cal alumni who came out to support us during the tournament, not to mention San Jose State University who put together a first-class venue for all of us. I already feel the nostalgia settling in as my time competing in the event has come to an end.

This is the final sprint. Pace (Johnson), Michael (Weaver), Brandon (Hagy) and myself will soon find our way out of the collegiate world, and what a terrific four years it has been! When coach Des and Walter vested me as captain for this year’s Cal golf team, I first felt humbled and only later realized what a responsibility I had been given. I started to wonder what would possibly make me become a great team leader, one that receives rather than gives, incredible lessons. I further understood that our success would mold in a shared vision, allowing the sum of individuals to converge into one cohesive group of great human beings that would care for and carry each other up to May 28th.

Given the team’s success the last couple of years, it is easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking we have something to lose coming down the stretch. Instead, and especially as seniors about to head out on our own, going into PAC 12’s and NCAAs with an opportunity to win, should be a tribute to four years of hard work and an incredible opportunity to build memories we will carry the rest of our lives.

My experience and endeavors as team captain have helped me shed light on what is truly unique about college golf, transposing an individual sport into a team effort, while also building an incredible brotherhood that will become critical going into the next few weeks.

I look forward to the upcoming post-season, which should be a great one for the Golden Bears! readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.