PLAYER PROFILE: Golfer finds his swing
Whether it’s his backswing, follow-through or life’s ambition, junior Matt Eschenburg has learned that being in the right place at the right time is important.
That line of thinking is what brought Eschenburg to UH.
‘Once the University of Houston offered me a scholarship, it was done,’ Eschenburg said. ‘It was one of my top choices from the very beginning (since) my freshman year, but it didn’t work out. And last year, it (finally) all came together, so I got to come here.’
Eschenburg began learning to play golf with his father at the age of seven and has been competing since he was 11 years old with local groups such as the American Junior Golf Association. Although Eschenburg played other sports growing up, he found that golf was the best sport for him to pursue.
‘I played a bunch of sports when I was growing up, but I’m kind of skinny, so I learned which sports were probably made for me and which ones weren’t,’ Eschenburg said. ‘Our high school had a great golf program, so that’s what really drew me more to golf.’
After graduating in 2006 from The Woodlands High School, Eschenburg knew he wanted to pursue a golf career and that he wanted to play for UH, but he quickly learned that things don’t always work out the first time.
‘I went to Lamar University my freshman year to play golf,’ Eschenburg said. ‘We had a great team, but I knew Lamar wasn’t the right place for me.’
After spending a year at Lamar, Eschenburg took a year to focus on his academics at Montgomery Community College before applying to UH again, still hoping he would get a chance to be a Cougar.
‘It was important to me to stay close to home. I didn’t want to go somewhere where my parents couldn’t come and watch me,’ Eschenburg said. ‘Houston also has the best tradition out of any school for golf, and it just seemed like a logical choice to come somewhere where the tradition is so strong that you’re expected to do well.’
Luckily, Eschenburg was given the opportunity to become part of the UH family and hasn’t wasted any time representing Houston well. In the first tournament of the fall, the Kansas Invitational, Eschenburg turned in a 222 and placed 14th for his best career finish.
One week later, at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, Eschenburg broke his record to set a new career best, tying for 5th place with a score of 216, which garnered him Conference USA Golfer of the Week honors.
‘I didn’t expect it; I finished 5th at Notre Dame,’ Eschenburg said. ‘I mean, I played well, I just didn’t really expect it to get me Conference USA (Golfer of the Week).’
Eschenburg didn’t realize he had been honored until a friend notified him via Twitter.
‘One of my teammates (who) has Twitter told me, ‘Congratulations,’ and I said, ‘What?’ So I went online, and it showed up on the Web site,’ Eschenburg said. ‘I found out through other people, (and it) was kind of cool to have other people recognize me.’
In addition to being on the golf team, Eschenburg is a business marketing major. Playing on the PGA pro tour is his goal, but he knows how difficult it can be to get there.
‘I want to play golf, but it’s extremely hard to get on the (PGA) tour,’ Eschenburg said. ‘Business marketing really isn’t a backup plan, it’s most likely going to be the plan. But at least marketing will give me the kind of future where I can still be a part of golf even if I can’t play professionally.’
Eschenburg has another year-and-a-half to play for UH, and he doesn’t want to be anywhere else.
‘I know our team this year is 10 times better and stronger than last year. We practice harder, we play harder, we work out harder,’ Eschenburg said. ‘We do everything as a team and it doesn’t matter what the rankings are; we think we’re better and we know we’re better. You go somewhere else besides the top 20 schools in the nation and there’s no one who has as many championships as we do ‘hellip; to be a part of that, there’s just no better place to be.’
It looks as though Eschenburg has found the right place and wants to make it the right time for a return to prominence.