Talented Golfer Backed by Family, Faith
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
For not truly picking up the sport until ninth grade, Jon Koenig is pretty good at golf.
Koenig, a senior, played baseball until his freshman year, when he decided golf was more his style.
That decision turned out to be the right one.
“It’s just something about golf that really fits who I am,” Koenig said. “Playing baseball–early in my career I was a pretty solid hitter, but later I became just a pitcher, and realized I had to have the ball on a tee in order to hit.”
He qualified for the state golf tournament as just a sophomore, shooting a final round 79 in sections to make the cut.
“That was the time I started to realize my potential,” he said.
Not only did Koenig get to state, he tied for 15th out of 88 competitors, and was one of just three underclassmen in the top 25.
“I was just going in looking to have fun,” Koenig said. “That’s when I play my best golf.”
Koenig returned to state as a junior, carding a two day total of 157 to finish tied for 33rd. Even though he placed lower in his second state tournament appearance, he’s keeping his goals high.
“My goal is definitely to win [state],” he said. “That’s tough to do, because there’s a lot of good talent in the state, but…I think I’m at a point in my game where on a given day I can beat anybody.”
“He’s very driven,” said Apple Valley golf coach Chris Scanlon. “This year…as a captain he’s provided some great leadership for the younger guys.”
But what makes Koenig’s golf story so interesting is how he got here. He is not like many golfers in the state, who have devoted nearly their entire lives to practicing golf. In fact, Koenig has never had a formal golf lesson. So how did this longtime baseball player get to be one of the state’s best golfers?
Credit brotherly love.
When Koenig’s older brother, Chris, took up golf for fun in high school, Jon decided to follow suit. Their bond is what Koenig says got him to this level.
“That guy is my best friend,” Koenig said. “He’s the reason I got into golf…in everything I do he’s always 100 percent supportive.”
While his brother certainly has been an influence, it may be Koenig’s faith that carries the most weight.
“That part of my life is definitely the most important,” he said. “I love golf, but it’s also just a game, and I realize my faith is bigger than any of that.”
He helps lead Apple Valley’s Bible study program, which meets each Thursday at 6:30 in the morning–something that allows him to continue his own faith while fostering an environment for his friends to do the same.
“It’s been really cool watching 50 or 60 kids show up every Thursday…it’s definitely been a blessing,” Koenig said.
As his senior season winds down, Koenig will attempt to qualify for the state tournament for a third time, this year with high hopes.
With such a strong support system added to his top-notch golf talent, who would bet against him?