NCAA Golf News

Scholar Stories: Through Uncertainty, Hoagland Takes Unlikely Route to, at Michigan

Scholar Stories: Through Uncertainty, Hoagland Takes Unlikely Route to, at Michigan

Continuing the series that began in 2016-17, each Wednesday will highlight a Michigan student-athlete and their academic pursuits. These are our Scholar-Athlete Stories, presented by Absopure.

By Ben Metcalf

Ben Hoagland‘s road to becoming a key member of the University of Michigan men’s golf team has been anything but likely. As a freshman at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Ind., Hoagland did not even play golf, opting instead to join the school’s tennis team. Time away from the course helped him realize his passion for golf.

“That’s when I realized how much I liked it, when I couldn’t play it,” Hoagland said. “That summer, I started taking it more seriously and started playing better.”

By his junior season, Hoagland had steadily improved, earning a medal at the 2019 Southern Indiana Athletic Conference Championship and finishing 12th at the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals.

Despite his success, Hoagland was still faced with the challenge of finding a destination to play at the next level after high school.

“I was kind of a late bloomer as far as college golf goes,” he said. “I was an OK player in my freshman and sophomore year and I had a really good season in my junior year, so I was late to the process compared to most people going to a school like Michigan. At first, I was just trying to find any opening in any door, to be honest.”

Fortunately, it was not long before Hoagland had an opportunity to make an impression on U-M’s newly hired head coach, Zach Barlow. Hoagland had known Barlow from his time as an assistant with Big Ten powerhouse Illinois. What would seem to be a simple, polite gesture from Hoagland would soon turn into much more.

“When he got the job at Michigan, I had his number and just texted him, ‘Hey man, congrats.’ It was right in the month-long span that I was playing really, really well.”

Barlow paid Hoagland a visit and quickly offered him a scholarship. When it came time to weigh the options, Hoagland knew there was only one right choice: the Maize and Blue. “It really wasn’t a whole lot of decision just knowing that I wanted to play for him with Michigan being such a good school as well,” Hoagland said.

In three seasons with the Wolverines, Hoagland has become an impactful member of the program. After averaging 78.44 strokes per round over three events in his sophomore season, Hoagland played in nine events with eight starts as…


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