Men’s Golf: DeKeuster masters both sides of the ropes

Sarah Kuta

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Andy DeKeuster came to Northwestern to study journalism.

Still, something was missing.

The freshman decided to contact coach Pat Goss about walking on to the golf team. The team was full, but Goss instructed the freshman to wait it out.

DeKeuster did not have to wait long. He said Goss called him the night before preseason practice his sophomore year to officially offer him a spot on the team.

Wasting no time, DeKeuster packed his bags and drove that same night to start practice in the morning. Coach Pat Goss saw DeKeuster immediately become an integral part of the team.

“I could not believe there was a golfer this good on campus that wasn’t on the golf team,” Goss said. “He’s one of my favorite players that I’ve coached.”

Now Dekuester has a tough decision to make – journalism, golf or both?

“Playing professionally never crossed my mind until my coach kept harping on me about how good I was and then I finally believed it,” DeKeuster said. “It’s been such an awfully tough decision to make.”

Over the past three years, DeKeuster has proven himself to be a valuable member of the team, even with the pressures of Medill.

He played in seven events this season with one top-20, a 19th place finish at the Windon Memorial. He has three total top-20 finishes including a 13th place finish at the CordeValle Collegiate tournament in 2007.

He said he is grateful for both the athletic and academic opportunities NU has made available to him, even when it gets tough to juggle schoolwork with practice and tournaments.

“It’s exhausting sometimes, but we’re thankful for everything,” he said. “If that’s what it’s going to cost, we’re more than willing to pay. We get more than we could ever ask for from this school.”

With little time for friends and constant travel together for tournaments, DeKeuster said it would have been impossible not to become close friends with his teammates.

His role on the team this year has not only been to lead by example, but to be a mentor and friend to some of the underclassmen.

“It’s so easy to get discouraged as a freshman,” he said. “You come in here with such a good junior reputation and then maybe don’t play at all your first year. I like to share with them what I went through and teach them how I dealt with that.”

DeKeuster said it was important that even though he is a senior, some of the greatest lessons he has learned came from underclassmen. This year, that lesson came from freshman Eric Chun.

“It’s a learning process both ways,” DeKeuster said. “If only I could’ve been that confident as a sophomore.”

DeKeuster was named Northwestern’s Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree, an award Chun said he felt the senior deserved because of his positive attitude on the course.

“I hang out with him a lot, I enjoying playing with him and practicing with him,” Chun said. “I have a lot of respect for him. It’s a special award because so much of golf is keeping your head on the course.”

DeKeuster has been able to take his composure on the golf course and use it in a professional environment. He spent the winter of his junior year on his journalism residency writing about cross country running, canoeing and hiking for Windy City Sports magazine in Chicago.

Even though he was not writing about golf, being on the other side of the table during interviews was definitely an experience for him.

“Journalists can write about sports, but playing them is a different story,” DeKeuster said.

DeKeuster said he thought journalism and golf were similar in their lack of control. As a golfer, he said, he has no control over the way his competition plays. As a journalist, he has no control over whether his sources will respond for an interview.

“It’s an odd connection because you can’t move forward until they get back to you,” he said. “In golf you can only control what you’re doing and each shot you hit.”

Should he choose not to play golf professionally, DeKeuster has several career opportunities at different golf magazines in Orlando, thanks to connections of Goss and the NU golf program.

“Northwestern is very hooked in to the golf industry,” Goss said. “Part of the golf program here is to provide opportunities for our kids for after school. I don’t want to just be his coach and then leave him hanging. That’s not my job.”

If all else fails, DeKeuster has a back-up plan.

“I told Eric Chun that as soon as he turns professional, I’ll be caddying for him,” he said. “I hope he keeps that in mind after I graduate.”