Golf is more than just a game for BYU sophomore Joe Parkinson. It’s a passion that shapes his life.
“I just love it. It’s something that I’ve never been sick of even when I’m out on the golf course from 8 a.m. to 9 at night,” Parkinson said. “That’s why I want to pursue it so badly, because it’s something that I love and something I know I can be great at.”
The Parkinson family has produced two hall-of-famers for BYU already, one in women’s tennis and the other in gymnastics. Parkinson aims to add one more to the family legacy.
“It’s definitely something that I look up to, and they like to rub it in,” Parkinson said. “They joke with me that if I don’t make hall of fame I’m making the family look bad.”
Setbacks have halted Parkinson’s golfing journey. He stood by as his mother overcame cancer. A car hit him while he was on his mission.
Ranked No. 27 in the nation among college golfers, Parkinson has been able to stay a cut above the rest.
“He’s at such a level where I think I’m spoiled,” said Parkinson’s wife, Alexis. “I get to watch really, really good golf all the time.”
Joe Parkinson’s father, a BYU golf team alumnus, has played a huge role in helping his son — he introduced him to golf when the boy was only 3 years old.
“My dad was on the BYU golf team and has been my teacher throughout my life, but I never felt pressure from him to play,” Joe Parkinson said. “We lived on a golf course growing up, and it was just something I loved doing. When I decided I wanted to do it as a career my dad just supported me and just told me to keep working hard.”
Joe Parkinson is on his way to living his dream, and although it takes a lot of sacrifice, he has a team of support behind him.
“I never want to make him feel guilty for doing what he loves, because I knew what I was signing up for when I married him,” Alexis Parkinson said. “The fact that he’s literally living his dream is enough for me.”
Joe Parkinson may be living his dream, but not everyone can understand the passion he has for the sport. Many find the sport hard to understand or even boring. Even Alexis Parkinson didn’t get it at first.
“Golf definitely changed my whole world,” she said. “I had no idea what golf was about when I married Joe. I thought it was the most boring sport ever. I think I even told him that. But since (then) I’ve changed my tune. Once I realized how good Joe was, that’s when it all changed.”
Joe Parkinson currently plays on the BYU men’s golf team with his childhood best friend, sophomore Garrett Fotu, from Alpine, Utah. The two have been playing together since they were ten years old and find themselves fortunate to still have each other as teammates.
“It’s been great playing with him because he’s competitive, but he’s still supportive and wants me to improve,” Fotu said. “If I beat him he wants to improve, and if he beats me I want to be better, and we just feed off of each other. I think that’s the best part about playing with Joe.”
Joe Parkinson has high hopes for what the future brings. During his career at BYU he plans on using his success as a gauge to see if he should take the leap toward a professional career. No matter what the future holds for him one thing won’t change: his love for golf.