Harris, Holder, McGraw, and Bratton. These four head coaches have led Oklahoma State golf to prominence ever since its inception in 1947. 10 of OSU's 51 national championships are accredited to Cowboy Golf, with the most recent championship coming in 2006.
Following in the footsteps of excellence, head coach Alan Bratton took charge of the OSU men's golf team in 2013, finishing as the runner-up in the NCAA Championship. Coach Bratton took the time with us here at CBRFF to answer some questions about the Cowboy Golf program.
How special is it to be the men's golf head coach at Oklahoma State, which is not only your Alma Mater, but also one of the premier golf programs in the nation?
It's a privilege to coach any sport at the Division 1 level. It takes it over the top to be coaching at my Alma Mater. OSU Golf as been about excellence for decades, and I recognize the responsibility that comes with the job. We owe it to all our former players and coaches to continue to raise the bar. That does not just happen by chance. It's on Coach (Brian) Guetz and I to make sure our players understand that responsibility and use it to their advantage as we continue to strive to separate ourselves form all other programs. It's a wonderful time to be a part of Oklahoma State across the board. I am excited for the future and the direction of not just our team but the whole athletic department.
Karsten Creek has been a big part of OSU Golf ever since its creation in 1994. How advantageous is it to have one of the best collegiate courses to practice on?
Karsten Creek is a huge advantage. Coach Guetz and I are both fortunate to have been playing at OSU when we built the course. To have that perspective and to never take Karsten Creek for granted is invaluable. Almost every program has adequate facilities, but what we have at Karsten Creek speaks load and clear about how committed we are to providing everything a player needs to succeed, win championships, and prepare for life on the PGA Tour. No other golf program in the country owns a facility like Karsten Creek. To have raised all the money to build it through private funds shows how passionate the Cowboy Nation is for Swinging Pete and OSU Golf.
During your time at Oklahoma state, you have had the opportunity to coach many talented players. With Cowboy golfers like Rickie Fowler and Peter Uihlein, did you know right away that these players would be special, or did they gradually develop into the players that they are today?
Every player develops, but there is no doubt that we knew players like Rickie Fowler and Peter Uihlein don't come around every year. We have been fortunate at Oklahoma State to have our share of very good players. Some came in as stars and others surprised lots of people. The one constant is the competitive environment that was created that we still foster today. It has allowed players to thrive, sharpen their skills, and go on to handle the competitive world that waits for them after college.
A lot of fans do not know a lot about the process of recruiting in golf. Tell us a little bit about how your staff handles recruiting, and how you evaluate players. Additionally, how time consuming is a process like that to undertake?
Recruiting is an all year, all the time deal. Like in any other division 1 sport, the better player you start with the better coach you become. The challenge in our recruiting comes in the fact that our classes are small, only 2 or 3 players, so not much room for error. You always recruit for what you think a player can be several years down the road. Predicting the future is very difficult to do and players are making their college choices earlier and earlier all the time. Coach Guetz and I look for good technique, athleticism, grades, and character. After that, we look at results and how we think a player might fit in on our team. If we can check all the boxes, then we look to see if we can make the financials work. We travel all Summer to identify kids. Then we spend time investigating to find out what they are all about.
How can the Cowboy fans out there show their support for OSU Golf?
Cowboy fans will have a chance to see us play close to home twice in the next year and a half. This year's Big 12 is in Tulsa at Southern Hills April 27-29th. Then the 2016 NCAA regional will be at Karsten Creek. Our fans can follow our results at all our regular season events at www.golfstat.com. Golf Stat has live scoring from all our events. Fans can also follow us on Twitter @osucowboygolf
We are also fortunate to have a loyal and generous fan base. Next year's Cowboy Pro-Am fundraiser is October 2nd at Karsten Creek.
Out of all of your experiences here at OSU, what is your favorite Cowboy memory?
My favorite Cowboy Golf memory is easy to choose. Our team won the National Championship my senior year in 1995. It was the first NCAA Championship to be decided in a playoff. We beat Stanford and their star freshman that everyone knows :-)
The Cowboys begin their Spring season next week, leaving Saturday to compete in the American Airlines Invitational in Kona, HI from February 5-7.