The Drill: Austin Olson achieves golf dream, enjoys coaching junior high sports
Austin Olson' club golf championship in Jackson was unforgettable. He's also a devoted coach of middle school sports.
WORTHINGTON -- When The Globe interviews subjects for its weekly Drill feature, one popular item we like to ask them is to remember something that happened to them at some special time in their athletic careers -- something they’ll never forget, something that will always stay with them.
When we did a Drill with Jackson’s Austin Olson, we skipped that part of the questioning. The way it seemed to us, there just wasn’t any need.
Olson needn’t think back very far to come up with a suitable memory. Only last month he won his first Jackson Golf Club men’s championship in memorable fashion, and it was a truly emotional day. On the first day of the Saturday-Sunday tourney, he shot an 80 and was seven strokes behind the leader. But on the second day he shot a spectacular 34 on the front nine. Finally, for the win, he had to sink a 7-foot putt. And so he did. He was so excited, he actually said he’d “blacked out” for a moment.
He told The Globe later, “It was pretty emotional because it’s been an all-time goal of mine. And to have my family and friends there was a pretty special moment. I had to win the club championship by making a par on the last hole. We were tied, me and the other competitor, going on to the last hole. So I had to win the club tournament by making that 7-footer.”
Olson is of course a serious golfer. He’s a teacher, and a coach. He runs a junior golf program in Jackson every summer, and was particularly excited this year because he had 46 kids ages 7-13 in the group. In Worthington, he coaches seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball and football.
Coaching, he says, goes hand in hand with teaching -- perhaps especially for junior high school kids.
“Especially seventh-graders,” he said. “Because you want to coach them the fundamentals. But you also want to teach them how to be students -- teaching them about keeping their grades up, being good in classes … It’s kind of fun to see ‘em grow from seventh- and eighth-grade into their high school careers.”
We thought Austin Olson would make an exceptional Drill interview. The story of his club golf championship was intriguing enough, and it was icing on the cake that he also is a coach in other sports. We were surprised and delighted, however, to hear his answer to one of our favorite questions, which is: Tell us the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know.
His was the first such answer to that query that we’d ever heard, and will probably be the last. You just never know what marvelous information these Drill interviews can reveal about a person.
So let’s get down to it, right? You can see our video of Austin Olson online at www.dglobe.com . Here are a few samples of the interview:
QUESTION: Can you describe the moments after you made your tournament-winning putt in Jackson?
ANSWER: “After I made the putt, I shook everybody’s hands and the first person I saw was my dad. My dad’s been a mentor of mine for ever since I was little -- putting the clubs in my hand. It was kind of special just to embrace him, and then my little brother and my mom were there.”
QUESTION: What sports did you compete at when you were younger? Are you the most passionate about golf?
ANSWER: “When I was in high school I played football for two years, I played basketball my first two years at high school, and then I played golf all four years. Golf is my most fun sport to play. But, actually, my most fun sport to coach is football ‘cuz there’s a lot of fundamentals. And I have more patience in football than I do in golf.”
QUESTION: Tell us the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know.
ANSWER: “Something that most people won’t know about me is that I’m terrified of fish. I love going swimming in lakes, going boating -- but I will freak out if I’m swimming and a fish hits my foot. I can deal with snakes, I can deal with spiders, but fish, I can’t do that. They’re just weird creatures, I don’t know. You know, we go swimming in the lakes all the time and if I feel their tail up against my foot, I’m outta there.”