As a solid player scoring consistent rounds of 78-78 for a 156 total and placing 21st among 59 competitors during his last match at the Oct. 7 Whitworth Invitational, junior Taylor Pernke is a Wildcat golfer who is worth being recognized.
With strong and consistent results from the Wildcat’s first match of the 2013 season at the Pacific Invitational in Forest Grove, Ore., to his most recent performance at Whitworth’s Invitational, Pirnke has proven extremely resilient to physical and mental obstacles in the world of golf making him a strong addition to the men’s golf program here at Linfield College.
Pirnke started his golfing career in the seventh grade with his dad inspiring him to take on the sport which eventually lead him to Linfield.
Although growing up, Pirnke was involved in playing baseball and admits it helped when he began perusing golf, he believes that his progression in golf comes from hard work and practice.
“Practice elevates my game, not so much natural ability,” Pirnke said.
Pirnke has gained his biggest strength as a player, his short game, through hard work and practice.
“If I miss a green in regulation, my chipping and putting always help me score well on the course. I don’t have the best swing, but I am able to score because I can put the ball near the hole around the greens,” Pirnke said.
Another strength Pirnke possesses is a strong mental game, which is critical in order to become a successful golfer.
“I don’t get frustrated for the most part,” Pirnke said. “I accept bad shots and look to position myself to shoot the best score possible.“
One of the key players at Linfield that inspired Pirnke was a fellow team mate his freshman year was 2010 graduate, Alex Fitch, who also held the number one slot on the Wildcat line-up during his time at Linfield.
“Being able to observe the way he practiced and played help me bring my game upward as I have progressed as a golfer,” Pirnke said.
He also described that Fitch’s mentorship on both the mental and physical side of the game that has supplemented to his game as well.
In addition to being a strong player individually, Pirnke also possesses the qualities that make an excellent team player: modesty in his abilities and the ability to inspire his team mates during tough matches.
Although Pirnke attributes his consistency as one of the factors to the team’s success, he also shows interest in the younger players in the golf program.
“I have taken more of a leadership role on the team which I hope has helped the younger guys out, because their scores are just as important as mine,” Pirnke said.
Pirnke has high goal for the rest of the season.
“Personally, my goal this season is to win individually, but more importantly, I want to have the team travel to nationals in the spring. This requires us to win our conference championship. The golf team has a great legacy as of late as being one of the top teams in the country.
Keeping that legacy is paramount to the success of this program for years to come. The most important goal I have is to help the team win and travel to nationals in hopes of a national championship,“ Pirnke said.
You can watch the Wildcat golfers on Oct. 20 at the Culturame Classic at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha, Ore.
By Camille Weber/Sports columnist
Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer
Junior Taylor Pirnke takes a swing during a practice round, before the upcoming tournaments. The Men’s golf team will compete next at the Cuturame Classic on Oct. 20