Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells
Senior men’s golfer Mats Heien has played golf for as long as he can remember, and his passion and dedication to the sport has not only contributed to the success of the team, but has also inspired his teammates to strive for excellence both in golf and in life.
“I think I have been playing golf for about 10 years now,” Heien said. “My father played golf and that’s how I got into it. I loved it ever since I hit my first golf ball.”
Heien said his inspiration comes not only from his father, but also from professional golfer Rory McIlroy.
“I like how hard he works at his game, and this makes me want to work even harder so that one day I will beat him,” he said.
Heien traveled 5000 miles from Royken, Norway to Belton to continue his golf career at the collegiate level.
“I chose to come play at UMHB because of the weather,” Heien said. “I also got a good feeling about Coach Rodeffer, so I took a chance that this place would help me be the best golfer I could be.”
While Heien is thousands of miles from where he grew up, UMHB has become his home away from home over the last four years, with a little help from his teammates.
“My favorite part about playing here at UMHB is the golf team. They are definitely the best part,” Heien said. “It is a lot of fun going to tournaments with this team, and we help each other get better every day.”
While there are many aspects of golf that helped Heien fall in love with the game, there are a few in particular that have stood out to him over the years.
“I love the competition side of golf the most,” Heien said. “I prepare for hours and hours so when I go out to play tournaments, I know that I can beat everybody out there. Golf is basically turned into my entire life. And this is the only thing I want to do in life.”
Heien’s dedication to perfecting his skills has paid off. In the last two years, Heien has had the best individual seasons in UMHB men’s golf history and was named a Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Semifinalist.
This season is Heien’s last season here at UMHB and he hopes that he can lead the team to achieve their goals one last time.
“I feel that I work hard on my game and my scores reflect this so that I can help my team each time we tee it up in a tournament,” Heien said. “This season I want to get at least two more individual wins and help my team win the National Championship.”
Heien, a finance major, also has big dreams beyond graduation. He is confident that all of his hard work and focus will pay off in the end and will allow him to pursue golf at the professional level.
“I plan on playing professional golf and see where this path takes me,” Heien said.