Skill on and off the course

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There’s a common misconception that BYU athletes don’t see performing well in the classroom as important as performing well on the field.

Jordan Hammer watches his ball as it sails to the green in a tournament in 2011. Photo by Mark Philbrick
Jordan Hammer watches his ball as it sails to the green in a tournament in 2011. Photo by Mark Philbrick

Jordan Hammer, a junior from St. George studying finance, broke this stereotype when he was among the 152 athletes named to the Division I Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars list.

Hammer hasn’t always been in his words, a “scholar,” so when BYU admissions was hesitant to let him join the golf team before his mission in 2008, he was determined to prove his mettle, and still is.

“I wanted to show that not only did an ACT score fail to determine who I was as a person, but that athletes really can achieve greatness in the classroom,” Hammer said. “I don’t think I am smarter than anyone, in fact I recognize that I am not the smartest in my classes, but I can and will out-work people and that’s just as good as a great ACT.”

To be eligible for the Golf Coaches Association of America Cleveland Scholars honor, a student must be a junior or senior, compete in collegiate sports for at least three full years, have a stroke average under 76.0, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 and must be of high moral character and good standing at his university.

Men’s golf head coach, Bruce Brockbank, said, “Jordan is kind of a coach’s dream,” said Bruce Brockbank, men’s golf head coach. “He works hard, does everything he is asked, is an example both on the course and in the classroom, and a great leader for the team. It’ll be a sad day when he graduates, but we’ll see great things out of him.”

Hammer comes from a family of golfers and basketball players and would watch his older brother and dad leave every afternoon to go play golf until he was old enough at age seven to join them himself. It’s been 16 years, and he has been playing ever since.

Hammer said balancing basketball and golf during high school didn’t allow him to show who he was as a student. But years of college and marriage experience has taught him how to dedicate himself to changing.

“Knowing BYU struggled letting me in made me determined to prove them wrong, but getting married is what really motivated me to be a better student for my family,” Hammer said. “My highest GPA at BYU has been since I married my wife, and I plan to continue taking full advantage of all BYU has to offer.”

“It is so impressive to see him balance school, golf and marriage,” said Eden Hammer, Jordan’s wife. “He works so hard at all three, setting and reaching high goals, and making sure I never feel less important than the team or class. I can learn a lot from him.”

Hammer was also named to the 2012–2013 West Coast Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the WCC Men’s Golf All-Academic Team.

“This award is something I want to be able to show my kids someday, so that they know I wasn’t just a golfer or some college athlete that barely got by academically, but that I really strove to be great at everything I did. I mean, I had something to prove,” Hammer said. “BYU admissions and Coach Brockbank took a risk on me, and I hope they can breathe easy now knowing I’ve worked hard and will continue to do so.”

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