For 80 years after the conception of the Texas golf program in 1920, Longhorn golfers hauled their clubs in the trunks of cars that doubled as locker rooms.
Things have changed since then. Nestled in an Austin suburb 30 miles from campus, The University of Texas Golf Club gave the Longhorns a home when it opened in November 2003.
“Players truly had a home, a place to hang their hat and a place to have lockers. It wasn’t a perennial powerhouse, and then the club opened and things started to turn a little bit,” said Steve Termeer, a former Texas golfer and the general manager and chief operating officer of the UT Golf Club.
Termeer has witnessed the growing dynasty of the Texas men’s golf team in particular.
Five men have served as head coach over the past 93 years, the two most recent being Jimmy Clayton and current head coach John Fields. Clayton coached Termeer in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Fields coached Termeer’s son, Tayler, from 2011 to 2016. Steve and Tayler were the first father-son duo of UT Golf, with the second being the current Coody twins and their father and grandfather.
Texas’ current status as a perennial powerhouse can be credited to Fields joining the program in 1997 and also to the creation of the club — a place for players to hang their hats and an attractive addition to recruits. Fields ushered in a new era of success after the program’s back-to-back national championships in the ‘70s, and the Longhorn greats started rolling in after the club was built.
“Cody Gribble committed, who got Jordan Spieth to commit, and the next thing you know, we’re off and running and win the national championship in 2012,” Termeer said. “If you look at the last eight or nine years, UT is the most consistent team in match play in the country.”
One of the strengths of the program underneath Fields is the coach’s ability to identify what a great player looks like. As the great players come and go, Fields keeps the alumni connected through communication and the golf club, where former players, such as Dylan Frittelli from the 2012 national championship team and Fred Haskins Award Winner Beau Hossler, use the club’s facilities to practice.
While Termeer has seen Longhorn legends play on his club grounds, so has head golf professional Greg Garner. Garner has witnessed firsthand the impeccable play of Spieth and rising PGA pro Scottie Scheffler.
“A guy like Jordan Spieth, who was far mature beyond his age, how he saw the golf course was the equivalent of a 27-year-old veteran, and he could do that at 16,” Garner said, laughing. “I first saw Scheffler at 13, and my joke is he wasn’t even as tall as his golf bag or the trophy we gave him.”
As the men on the UT golf team compete for another championship, they have the full support of the club, the tenured staff and the whole program of Texas right behind them.
“Texas has worked with our owners and tenured staff here and donors that have fulfilled the vision of what we’ve wanted to do here,” Garner said. “I give Fields a big credit for being a visionary. His visionary leadership and what this club could morph into is unmerited. I think that’s why we’re where we are today; we’re achieving further than we ever dreamed.”