The smell of freshly cut grass fills the air as senior Kelby Scharmann prepares to tee off.
He and golf were made for each other since day one.
This season, Scharmann became the first-ever University of La Verne golfer to win the NCAA Division III Individual National Championship.
On Thursday, Scharmann was named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Male Athlete of The Week.
This is the second time that he has received the honor in just three weeks.
He was also honored with the Arnold Palmer Award, the Anthony P. Scafani Award recipient as the top senior male athlete, the 2015 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Golf Athlete of the Year and selected to Second Team All-America in 2014.
“He is a one-man wrecking ball out there,” golf coach Chris Davis said.
“For me it has been great being able to watch him over the past four years,” he said.
As a freshman, Scharmann made it his goal to win a national championship during his college career.
“I looked at the record books to see the golfers, traditions and what records there were and who had won,” he said. “I noticed that no one had ever won a national championship, and I thought it would be pretty cool if I was the first one to do it.”
Scharmann started to swing the club at a young age with the help of his grandpa, who would take him out to the course during the summer.
He never forced Scharmann to play golf, but instead he always supported and inspired him to do better in his game.
“We play together all of the time and I enjoy being with him and he has been a big part of my life,” Scharmann said. “Having him at nationals watching me was just awesome and a highlight.”
Scharmann grew up in Trabuco Canyon in Orange County and attended Tesoro High School.
At Tesoro he played with the California Interscholastic Federation team all four years and qualified for individual CIF his senior year.
When looking into college, Scharmann thought that Division III would be the best for him. He emailed different head coaches and Davis was one of the coaches that got back to him.
“I liked what he stood for as coach and I liked the history of La Verne program,” Scharmann said.
“It was somewhere I could see myself playing, so I decided to come here,” he said.
During his four years Scharmann has been a leader everyone can look up to.
“He doesn’t have to force himself to be a leader, he just is,” senior Michael Bonicatto said. “Whenever he feels like I am not living up to my standards, he will call me out and approach me about it and be very upfront, which is how I get better and how everyone gets better.”
Scharmann always lends a helping hand to his team when they need it and is described as a trustworthy person and inspires everyone to live up to their full potential.
“He has shown nothing but love for his teammates and wanting what is best for them,” Davis said.
“Everyone looks up to him, but there is a few individuals that he has paved the path for and I think because of him our team will be better in the next few years,” he said.
He has also been an inspiration to sophomore Alec Spencer and took him under his wing.
“He is always showing me and telling me the way he plays the course,” Spencer said.
Scharmann always tries to remain relaxed and focused on the course, while executing proper golf etiquette.
“He never yells or gets mad, he is always very calm and collected,” freshman Andrew Cooper said.
“It is something that I look up to not only because he plays well, but behaves well too,” he said.
Not only is he dedicated to his golf game, but his studies as well. Since his freshman year, he has been in the honors program as a history major, where he had the chance to grow and have opportunities, such as travel to the Galapagos Islands.
Scharmann is an All-American scholar athlete and will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in history and as Magna Cum Laude. He will also receive departmental honors.
After graduation, he plans on pursuing his golf career as an amateur and someday qualify to play on the PGA Tour.
He has invitations to play in a few tournaments in June and July.
When he is not swinging the club, Scharmann likes to relax by reading, hiking, water skiing in Lake Havasu and doing anything outdoors.
While doing all of that, going to the Division III National Championship was the perfect way to end his college golf career.
The first day of the tournament held at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina, Scharmann had a great start, shooting six under par with a 66.
Day two of the tournament he finished with a 68 and on day three with a 70.
Scharmann finished the tournament with a total of 279, allowing him to take the national title.
After the tournament he was also named a Golf Coaches Association of America First Team All-American.
“It shows that hard work pays of,” Scharmann said. “If you set your mind to something, down the road, you will be able to achieve your goals.”
Lauren Crumbaker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.