Humble Lion golfer receives All-American Honors

Junior Forrest Knight practices his swing technique at Turtle Point Golf Course. Forrest, who was named to the PING Division II All-American squad, hopes to maintain his status with a great 2015-2016 season.

As a PING Division II All-American with accolades out the wazoo, one would think it is practical for junior golfer Forrest Knight to boast, but that is not the case.

Knight is a humble, laid-back leader for UNA’s golf team who brings the term “star” to an all-new meaning on the golf course. With golf being an individual sport, the pressure can become a lot to handle, but Knight embraces the challenge and enjoys self-dependency.

“(Pressure) is what makes me want to play,” Knight said. “You don’t have to depend on anyone; it’s just yourself and nobody to blame but yourself (if you lose).”

Frustration is often more frequent in individual sports than in team sports. Knight said he deals with his frustration by taking a few deep breaths, attempting to relax and keeping a clear mind.

Head golf coach Jason Vaughn, who has seen growth in Knight, said his mentality and work ethic have progressed since his freshman year.

“With me coming in as the new coach, I knew Forrest was a little nervous, but I could see the talent Forrest had,” Vaughn said. “After we worked on his swing, it has become very repetitive and dialed-in.”

Vaughn said he believes in order to play golf well, one must be able to shake off previous mistakes.

“That’s one thing (Knight) does well,” Vaughn said. “He wasn’t able to forget (mistakes) so easily when he first got here, but that is one of the things that he probably does the best on the team now. In doing that, his scores have been so consistent.”

Last year, Knight won three tournaments. This year, he already has a tournament win under his belt. Knight has become the leader for UNA golf, said sophomore golfer James Medley.

“Forrest leads by example,” Medley said. “He will get to practice early and will stay late. Whatever Forrest does, you want to do because he does it the right way. ”

Medley said Knight is not big on attention, but rather stays to himself and keeps the focus elsewhere.

“He’s a quiet and humble guy,” Medley said. “He’s never going to go around talking about how good he is. He likes to stay out of the spotlight.”

When Knight is slated to tee off, he said he likes to keep his routine consistent and simple.

“I’ll wake up two hours before we tee off, eat some breakfast, get to the course about an hour before I play and I’ll go through my warm-up,” he said.

In a sport that has a lot to do with rhythm, the recurrent routine by Knight results in success and low scores.

“It’s important to have a routine that you can stick to,” Vaughn said. “Golf is all about rhythm. One thing Forrest has done well is realizing that getting to the golf course at a certain time to give yourself a certain amount of time keeps you from being rushed.”

Aside from playing golf, Knight said he is a huge fan of the sport and is a fan of professional golfer Sergio Garcia.

Knight, who is an accounting major, said his dream is to become a pro golfer on the Professional Golfers’ Association tour.

“But if not, I guess I’ll go get a real job,” he said.

Vaughn said he believes Knight has the mentality of a professional golfer and thinks Forrest has a great chance to become one.

Knight and the UNA golf team’s next tournament is Feb. 28, a regional preview event in Orlando, Florida.