Senior Daniel Whitehall has already left his mark at Hastings College, specifically on the soccer pitch. He will leave as the school’s leading goal scorer, a four-time All-American (two first-team marks, one second-team, and one honorable mention), and the 2016 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Player of the Year, among countless other records and awards. However, he still has a couple of blank pages and is looking to add to his legacy — this time on the links.
The men’s golf team was struggling. Adding injury to an already slim roster, the squad was left scrambling to add a couple of players. That’s where Whitehall stepped in. After a discussion with Head Coach Craig Marsh at the beginning of the spring season, the Warrington, England, native was given an opportunity to try his hand at golf, a sport that he was already familiar with but certainly unpolished.
“I’ve been golfing since I was about nine,” Whitehall said. “I’ve been a member at Alder Root Golf Club back in England, but never played competitive golf before, apart from club competitions.”
Those who have seen Whitehall play soccer are well aware of his propensity for theatrics. He is consistently the most animated player on the field and is never afraid to have a discussion with the referees. The transition from soccer to golf was not an easy one, but Whitehall says the individuality of the sport helps him maintain his composure.
“There’s no referees or other players I can blame my mistakes on or moan at,” Whitehall said. “I’m a lot more relaxed on the golf course than I am on the soccer pitch.”
Whitehall is used to being the star player and the leader that others look up to. As a captain of the soccer team this past season, all eyes were cast upon him. As a golfer, he has no problem stepping back and letting others do the leading.
“Both sets of guys are great to be around, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to have played on both teams. It’s nice going from the person that people were asking questions, to the guy who’s asking all the questions,” Whitehall said.
It is a fair assessment to say that the Daniel Whitehall seen playing soccer is much different than the one sinking putts. The competitive drive is still there, but the expectations for himself are vastly contrasting. He goes from a player constantly pushing himself and his teammates to reach new heights, to a player enjoying time with his friends.
“I wasn’t expecting too much from myself. I just wanted to go out and play some good golf,” Whitehall said. “The courses we played were really nice and I had fun playing at a harder level.”
The golf team concluded their season this Tuesday and Wednesday at the GPAC #3 & #4 tournament in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. The team finished 10th, with Whitehall shooting a combined score of 169 on the second day.