By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
Lopes add “off the course” accolades to arsenal
A game built upon sportsmanship, etiquette and competitiveness.
Grand Canyon University Club Golf continues to be a beacon of light for each of those pillars.
One of Grand Canyon University’s most successful clubs in terms of on-field performance, the Lopes continued their reign of dominance over the Desert Region in 2019-20, winning the region for the fourth consecutive season.
“I love nationals, and the ultimate goal is winning national tournaments, but nothing is more satisfying than winning our region,” said Lopes Head Coach John Wasson.
Coming off a regional win in late September at Legend of Arrowhead in Glendale, the team qualified for the National Collegiate Club Golf Association Fall National Championships in Thackerville, Oklahoma in November. The Lopes are no stranger to the national scene, placing second in the fall of 2018, and winning the 2018 spring iteration of the national tournament.
This year’s team, albeit a young squad, had the makings of another championship-caliber team. GCU freshman Tyler Smerz, the individual champion at the NCCGA Desert Regional II and October Male Student Athlete of the Month, and sophomore Nick Roberts are two players who established themselves as leaders inside the ropes, and players the Lopes can lean on for years to come. Despite some solid individual performances, GCU finished the Fall National in sixth place, their sixth consecutive top-10 finish.
On top of the incredible performances on the course, a few Lopes shined administratively as well. Claire Hoffman, December’s Female Student Athlete of the Month and GCU Club President, was recently named the Women’s Golf Ambassador for the NCCGA. Hoffman will serve as the voice of women’s golf for the NCCGA, and continue to help the sport grow – both on campus at GCU and nationally.
“Club golf has given me so many opportunities to be there for people and build so many connections,” said Hoffman. “It has allowed me to connect with people from different backgrounds, and I hope to be able to encourage other people to have that same experience.”
The team also took a step forward philanthropically as well, getting more involved in the community and making a conscious effort to give back. The team’s philanthropy chair, Chloe Graham, is a huge reason why the club has been able to take that step forward.
“We think it is fun doing these charity events,” said Hoffman. “We try to give back to the community as much as possible, and it has only brought us closer together.”
As for the future of the program, Wasson and company couldn’t be more confident in the leadership they have coming back next season – and beyond.
“I really feel as if our entire program has come together more this season,” said Wasson. “It is due to the leaders we have in place and the fantastic job we did this past season.”
Interested in joining GCU Club Golf? Contact Lopes’ Head Coach John Wasson today!