Approach Shot: Cooper Musselman
While many of his classmates spend their time attending parties, eating fast food and blowing their paychecks, Kentucky golfer Cooper Musselman takes a different approach to the college experience.
For Musselman, a redshirt sophomore majoring in communications, his favorite thing to do when he is not playing golf is to attend the CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) Study Hall hours. CATS Study Hall is a program offered by UK to encourage academic growth among student-athletes, according to the website. CATS services also offer student-athletes, like Musselman, with the opportunity to develop their personal and social growth.
While Musselman has proven he can accomplish many things on the course and in the classroom, there is still something he’d like to do better. Dancing, and dancing well, is the one talent that he wishes he had, he says. In contrast, a talent that Musselman really excels at is a startling performance in itself, golfing.
Musselman joined the UK men’s golf team in the fall of 2013 and first competed as a redshirt freshman in the fall of 2014. He competed in 11 events as a redshirt freshman, demonstrating his value and hard work for the game that set his positive reputation at UK.
In his first competing season, Musselman recorded a 73.97 stroke average ranking third on the team. He also charted two top ten finishes, posting a low round of 67 in day one at The Ocean Course.
Musselman’s knack for the game didn’t develop out of bunker sand; rather it traveled I-64 with him to UK from St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Ky. where he grew up. Musselman earned four individual titles during his time at St. Xavier and shot a low round record of 63 at The Classic at Kearney Hill Golf Links, only two shots away from tying Kentucky native Josh Teater for the course record.
Achievement in golf does not fall far from the tree for Musselman. His father, grandfather, and uncle all played Division I collegiate golf. Musselman specifically chose to play at UK because of the staff that makeup the succeeding team and the well-known program.
Musselman’s favorite part about the program isn’t the fancy practice arena, not even the tricked out van the team travels in to tournaments. Rather, his favorite part is Christmas in August where the golfers receive their official blue UK golf gear.
Though Rickie Fowler might disagree, the blue golf gear is not the whole package. If you look the part you have to also play the part, which is why Musselman has a golf idol, someone he molds his game off of. Jokingly or not, this person just so happens to be his teammate Chris Meuth Jr. This reveals the teams’ fun attitude about what seems to be a sometimes-frustrating game.
“This team overall has a great sense of humor and they are really funny,” said Coach Craig. “This team is real loose because they get along so well together.”
When Musselman isn’t on the course – or in CATS Study Hall – he is eating at his favorite restaurant The Local Taco, or playing ping-pong with the tunes of hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa playing in the background. College for Musselman isn’t so serious after all.