By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The past 18 months have been a blur for Pima Community College golfer Joseph Courtney. The sophomore has gone from a cattle ranch in Montana to being NJCAA regional golf champion.
For the youngest of six siblings, life can sometimes be difficult so far away from home.
“It sucks. I mean, I love it where I am at, but you get homesick, and I am ready to go home right now,” Courtney said. “I mean, I talk to my parents a bunch on the phone and my brothers.”
Courtney currently lives with two roommates, Daniel Harms and Trevor Martin. Harms works for Microsoft, and is working on the Windows 8 project. Martin is a journalism major.
“I live in a house full of brainiacs,” Courtney said.
Courtney recently switched his major to languages, and hopes to become a translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Between countless hours of studying and more than 40 hours a week spent practicing on his golf game, Courtney has little time for a social life.
“What I was told when I first came down here was that college has three aspects for an athlete: golf, school and social life,” Courtney said. “And you only have time to be great at two of those things.
“My first semester was really tough. It was the first time I had to manage a sport and school at the same time.”
His time practicing on the range has clearly paid off. The defending regional champion has improved every aspect of his game. Division I schools such as New Mexico State and Kansas State took notice and contacted him.
However, Courtney has decided to stay in Tucson and continue his education at the University of Arizona. He verbally committed to the program on April 26. If all his paperwork goes through, he will soon be a Wildcat.
For Courtney, one of the perks of being a collegiate golfer is getting to play on amazing courses. The toughest one he has played is the Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain in Tucson.
“I have played it about six or seven times, and my lowest round out there from the back tees — which are the championship tees — was a 73,” Courtney said. “It felt like I a shot a 61! It was brutal.”
If everything goes well with the UA, he will soon get a chance to play on his dream course. The Wildcats open next season in California playing at Pebble Beach Golf Course. Courtney has dreamed of playing at Pebble Beach ever since he picked up clubs.
Assistant coach Rick Price has seen major improvement in Courtney’s game over the past year.
“He has the pure ability and sheer determination to get the ball in the hole,” Price said.
For now, Courtney will keep pursuing his goals.
“Being a pro golfer is all I want to do. I’m just going to continue to chase my dream,” Courtney said.