PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – As prestigious as the California men’s golf team has become, there is one area of the school that is equally as prominent and several members of the Golden Bears aspire to be in it.
The Walter A. Haas School of Business is one of the top-five rated business schools in the country and its entry is coveted by many Cal underclassmen.
Brandon Hagy wanted to get in and knew it was going to be one of the most difficult tasks in his young life. So the sophomore decided to redshirt last year and focus on working to ensure his entry into the prestigious school.
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“It was more after my freshman year,” Hagy said. “My coach has been there for 33 years and he has seen a few kids go that route and he recommended I do that. It is so hard to do it in four years and he thought it would take away from the academics and the golf. It made sense to do the redshirt.”
It also allowed Hagy a chance to hone his game. It wasn’t as if he was struggling, but he knew if he took the time off he could work on certain parts of his game, especially his short game. His roommate and fellow golfer, Joel Stalter, was doing the program in four years and saw how difficult it was for him.
“I did really well in my classes and it is hard to say if I would have done as well if I was still traveling,” Hagy said. “I probably would have made it but it would have been much tougher and it would have taken away from both and it just wouldn’t have been worth it.”
It wasn’t like Hagy was walking away from the game, he was still active with the team, he just wasn’t part of the traveling squad.
“About the only thing I didn’t do was travel,” Hagy said. “I still practiced and played in qualifiers with the team. It wasn’t a break at all, it was more like ramping up my practice and getting me prepared for this year.”
With all of his prerequisites out of the way and his entry into business school set, he came into this year with a clearer mind, able to focus on improving on the golf course, which is exactly what he did. Hagy moved from the 247th ranked golfer to 40th by the Spring was part of arguably the team’s best season.
The team won six events for the first time, as well as capturing the Pac-12 and reaching match play and Hagy was a big part of it. His 30-foot birdie putt during the conference championships forced sudden death with Oregon and his putt two holes later closed out the match.
“That whole tournament I hit a ton of really short game shots,” Hagy said. “That was huge. I think my short game has improved at least 60-70 percent because of the time I took off to work on my game.”
Without missing out on anything at school, something Hagy said he thanked his coach for suggesting.
“I would have cheated myself out of that experience,” Hagy said. “I mean I am not going anywhere, I am going to stay here so I want to do as much as I can. I really have to thank my head coach because he was the one who suggested it.”