When a college golfer consistently shoots low scores, you better check his grades. They may be low, too, from spending too much time playing golf.
Monmouth College golfer Drake Decker proves the contrary. Maybe he's spending too much time in the classroom.
His perfect 4.0 grade point average earned him the Elite 89 Award for best academic performance among the 210 golfers playing in this week's NCAA Division III Championships at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center.
A sophomore, Decker says his emphasis on "time management" is the key to making perfect grades and to shooting decent golf scores.
He estimates he spends an equal amount of time studying and playing golf. He shot a one-under-par 72 in Tuesday's opening round before slipping to a five-over 77 in Wednesday's second round.
"It helps to be passionate about what you are learning,'' says the Muscatine, Iowa, resident who is majoring in economics and business administration with an emphasis in marketing, "and my Monmouth professors help me to be dedicated in the classroom."
During his high school days, Decker didn't think about going to a school in the NCAA Division I, where athletic scholarships are given.
"I really wanted the Division III feel, with the focus on academics," he says.
Decker's always positive attitude glowed after what most good golfers would have called a disappointing 77 Wednesday.
"Today was the most fun," he said. "The atmosphere was great. The volunteers out here were helpful. My parents were here."
Monmouth coach Dave Ragone said the parents of all five of his players came from the Midwest to watch their sons and to root for them as a team.
As for Decker, he coach said jokingly, "He has to keep the 4.0 average or else I'm going to cut him from the team."
This summer Decker will intern in northern Virginia at Billy Casper Golf, the second-largest golf course management company in the United States, with 140 courses.
Decker considers his experience in Greensboro "awesome" - or better put, perfect, just like his grade point average.