RH: Shocker Golfer Depends On Preparation And Practice

The Round House | 4/22/2022 9:55:00 AM

By Paul Suellentrop

A lesson learned in the weather. joe bultmanaround age 13, wore shorts, golf shirt and a light windbreaker to play golf in a tournament in Emporia.

“It just dumped rain, and I didn’t have any rain gear,” he said. “Got soaked. Didn’t play very well. My dad told me at that point, ‘There’s never any excuse to not be prepared for any of the elements.'”

That lesson in preparation helped bultman, a redshirt freshman from Kansas City, survived injuries that cost him two years away from tournament golf at Wichita State. On Friday, he teed off at the No. 2 spot in the lineup at the American Athletic Conference Championship at Southern Hills Plantation Club in BrooksvilleFla.

“He’s played exceptional golf,” coach Judd Easterling said. “He outworks everybody on the team, he prepares like nobody else on the team.”

bultman suffered a broken bone and a torn tendon in his right hand and wrist in February 2020. He endured two surgeries a year apart. He returned to tournament golf in early March at the Tiger Invitational in opelikaTo the.

In between those two tournaments, he continued to prepare by leaning on his Christian faith, focusing on the good things in his life and working on elements of his game and body unaffected by the injuries.

He leaned on mentors such as former Shocker track athlete and Kansas football player Ryan Schadler, college director of Wichita Young Life. He talked with pastors from his home church about him. I have helped other students explore their faith with Wichita State’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter.

“My faith kept me motivated,” he said. “I grew deeper in my faith during that time. That helped me reframe my mindset.”

The injury misfortune and the loss of golf made him bitter. Then he focused on gratitude and the support of family and friends. I have put golf secondary.

“That was a big thing to get me over the wall,” he said. “It really helped me to get my mind away from golf. I was grateful for what I did have and for the help I did have.”

On the other side of that wall is a golfer who enjoys the sport and school. For two years as he rehabbed and recovered, bultman was on the team, not a full participant. Teammate Tate Herrenbruck noticed Bultman’s devotion to chipping and putting, even when he wasn’t healthy enough to play.

“He definitely feels more a part of the team, now that he can come out and play,” Herrenbruck said. “He’s become closer with all the guys on the team, and I think that’s really good for him.”

As 2022 started, bultman returned to his previous form on the course.

Easterling estimates I have watched almost all rounds while recruiting him one summer. I have caddyed for bultman at the US Amateur in Pinehurst, NC, in 2019.

In 2018, bultman earned Kansas Class 6A Player of the Year honors at Shawnee Mission Northwest High and won the Kenneth Smith Award as Kansas City’s top high school golfer.

As a freshman at Wichita State, he has played in six tournaments and twice finished in the top 20 before COVID-19 ended the season.

Over winter break, I have played Falcon Lakes Golf Club in Basehor with his father, Matt. He broke into the 60’s for the first time since surgery.

“That gave me the confidence I could go low again,” he said.

His first tournament this spring for the Shockers provided another boost. After shooting a 78 on the first day, he rallied to shoot a 71 and 73 to conclude the tournament.

“I blew up on the front nine (first round),” he said. “I came out on the back nine and shot 32. I knew that I had it and I could really take a bad round and flip it. I knew I could play good tournament golf again.”

bultman stayed in the lineup throughout the spring and finished up with a career-best 65 at the MU Tiger Invitational earlier this month. He shot a four-over-par 220 to finish in a tie for 28th.

no longer is bultman is likely to forget his rain gear. The notes in his yardage book are copious and he uses Google Maps to evaluate the course. Each golfer gets a yardage book before each tournament so they can prepare for the practice round.

“Golf is just as much mental as it is physical and you have to have the ability to out-prepare your competition,” he said. “Credit to (coaches) Judd and Josh (Gliege), because they do a lot to prepare us and make sure we’re ready to go at every event. There’s no reason why you should let anybody else out-prepare us.”

Over Easter weekend, Easterling had the team play nine practice holes on Saturday afternoon to give people time to drive home. bultmanbecause of bad weather in Kansas City, stayed in Wichita to practice.

“He’ll know where to hit it, with what club, even before we’re on the golf course,” Easterling said. “He knows the weather for that day, what the wind’s going to be doing. He works at it, and he cares. That’s Joe as a person – very organized. It’s just not golf. It’s academics, it’s his faith. It’s everything. “

Paul Suellentrop covers Wichita State Athletics and the American Athletic Conference for university Strategic Communications. Story suggestions? Contact him at paul.suellentrop@wichita.edu.

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