Jake Goldenring ’15
Florham Park, N.J.
Residence: Spring Street
In my research before conducting this interview, some of your teammates described you to me as a “nice Jewish boy from Jersey.” How would you respond to this claim?
[Laughs.] I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. Well, I am from New Jersey, I am Jewish and I’d like to think that I’m nice. Yeah, I like for everyone to have a good time and I like when everyone feels good around me.
What kind of ethos do you think you strive for on the golf team throughout the season?
We are going for a good hard-work mentality. In years past, it’s been a little bit laissez-faire. There hasn’t been as much of a structured element to the team. We’ve been going for a good, collective attitude that revolves around working towards a goal and not putting your individual interests before the team’s interests because golf is a weird sport. You have 15 guys on the team and only five travel. There’s no riding on the bench. You are either playing or you are not, so everyone has to buy into the mentality that the team going any weekend is the best team but that everyone else needs to do the work and do well because people might have to filter in. It all comes back to the fact that everyone’s putting in the same amount of work regardless of where they are in the lineup or where they should be.
So do you really see a distinction between the guys who are traveling or who went on the Spring Break trip and the guys who are further down on the ladder?
Within the group of nine guys who went on the Spring Break trip, it is anyone’s best guess who is going to play that week. Then you move further down the list, and I would love if eventually those guys made the Spring Break lineup, the main nucleus of the team. But those guys are equally in importance to the top nine. Those guys push everyone else and if one of the top nine don’t do their duty, work hard and play fair, then one of those guys is going to fill in because they want it and they’re going to do what it takes to get that stop. It’s a tough dynamic with golf, but at the end of the day it’s a team.
Was it always just golf for you?
I actually did a ton of sports growing up. I played hockey for a while, I played soccer up until high school, I played baseball and I played a little bit of lacrosse. It really narrowed down to soccer and golf for me heading into high school and then I actually really didn’t like the fitness aspect of soccer. [Laughs.] I loved the game and I still play pick-up sometimes but once the conditioning was thrown in I knew it was time to pick up some golf clubs. That was how I gravitated towards golf. I really enjoyed the work it took to do golf. I like how I’ll be able to play this sport until I’m 85 like Arnold Palmer.
When did you start playing?
It was the day before seventh grade. My dad took me to a pitch-and-putt course; you took chip shots and you putt and I played really well and this was out of the blue. I had gone to the range before but I hadn’t really played golf. I was so excited about it that we came back the next weekend and I wasn’t as good. I’ve been trying to get back to how good I was that first day the rest of my golfing career. I just got bitten by the bug. Once that happens you are in; you’re not getting out.
Something I’ve heard the golf team express a lot of pride about is how successful the team is off the course. The team reportedly has the highest GPA of any men’s team on campus. You were a JA last year, two members of the team are currently JAs, and a rising sophomore golfer will serve as one next year. What are your personal thoughts about this?
I think this started many years ago when our team really didn’t have the greatest reputation ever. The guys coming in had different attitudes and created a different atmosphere. Everyone just realized there was no point in us having a bad reputation. Today, the members of the golf team do many different things. We all like interacting with the community at large. We don’t want to be set in our little group of 15 guys. Sure, we all like each other, but we like to go out and do other things and interact with all of the other amazing people who are here. We are here for four years and that seems long at first but now, in the twilight of my senior year, I realize that time goes quickly. You really need to take the time to get to know as many people as you can. The members of my graduating class will never be all together again and it’s only 550 people. You just got to take the time to know everyone and that’s what our team has aspired to do and I guess that’s my legacy as captain.
How do you think golf will factor into your life beyond Williams?
I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing golf. I hope I die on a golf course. [Laughs.] I hope I’m 100-something years old and I make a hole-in-one and have a heart attack and just drop dead. That would be the way to go. I’ll play for the rest of my life and I’m already looking into amateur tournaments that I can play in this summer. These are things I have done in the past, but I am going to continue playing at a competitive level as much as work commitments will allow. I will always play on weekends and I’ll always have the golfing reunions with my friends and hopefully I can introduce the sport to more of my friends as we all become older.