Having a Ball

Having a Ball

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

Matthaus Taylor's sporting world during his high school years, mainly consisted of running up-and-down 94-feet of hardwood.

A 5-foot-9 guard for the champion Crescent Heights High School Vikings boys' basketball team in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Taylor was a big fan of Canadian NBA icon Steve Nash.

Along the way though, he traded in the bouncing orange ball for a small white dimpled ball.

The sport of golf had a new star player.

"I started taking golf seriously around of the age of 18," said Taylor, now 24.

Suiting up for the Medicine Hat College Rattlers for the 2012-2013 season, he placed 29th in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) North Regional behind a 178 total. A 33rd placement at the South Regional with a 171 two-day total was also in the books. Teammate Jesse Florkowski was the top gun for the Rattlers placing 7th (156) and 13th (151) respectively.

"The first year at Medicine Hat, I struggled with golf as I had never played much tournament golf," admitted Taylor.

His second year of ACAC links, found Taylor scoring 177 for 39th spot at the South Regional and a 183 for 43rd at the North Regional.

For the next three years ,Taylor shifted south to attend the University of Lethbridge (Bachelor of Science Biology/Biological Studies, General) where he was a member of the Pronghorns men's golf team in club play.

"Playing (in Lethbridge) I learned to play in bad conditions... lots of wind. I became a better wind player. Every time you step out there (golf course) there is a chance it might be windy, so it is something to contend with."

Returning to Rattlers uniform in 2017-2018, he finished in a 4th place tie at the South Regionals with an impressive 148 at Desert Blume Golf Club in Medicine Hat.

A week prior, he had showcased his talents at Camrose Golf Club with a 148 finish for a No. 1 tie with MacEwan Griffins' Josh Gorieu.

At the 2017-2018 ACAC Championships held at Red Tail Landing Golf Club in Nisku, he would finish in a 9th place tie with Jason Wiwad of Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder.

To date, Taylor, who is enrolled in University Studies: Engineering, has recorded two holes-in-one and an albatross.

"The (hole-in-one) were on the same hole...No. 7 at Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club," said Taylor of the Par 3, 129-yards from white tees, 144-yards from the blues. "Obviously I was excited. The first one I did not see go in (2014) but for the other one (2015) I threw my club up in the air. There was a lot of back slapping from the people I was playing with."

His albatross was on the same course, Hole No. 17 a par 5, 473 yards from white tees, 482 yards from blues.

An albatross represents three strokes under par on a single hole.

Taylor, who said his "strong part of my game is my drives and wedges," while "I have been struggling with my putting this year," scored a first-day 78 at the ACAC Men's North Regional held September 16, 2018 at Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club. He had to pull out the next day.

Of his future golf goal: "Just keep getting better every tournament round I play and hopefully next summer play some high amateur events like the Alberta Amateur and Canadian Amateur."

Not bad for a kid who liked hoopster Steve Nash but now follows pro golfers Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

Medicine Hat will be hosting the 2018 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Golf National Championships Presented by PING.

Stated in a media release: This is the first time CCAA Golf will be contested in Alberta and the Rattlers Varsity Athletics pride themselves on being great hosts.

Desert Blume Golf Club is the site of the 72-hole event from Oct. 15-19, 2018. Desert Blume is a world-class golf course featuring pristine conditions in a beautiful desert setting.

Desert Blume Golf Club is also eager to host the top collegiate golfers in Canada.

"Our staff and membership have always done an amazing job planning, executing and making sure it is a memorable experience for all the competitors," said Chris Paskin, Director of Golf at Desert Blume Golf Club.