SHEPHERDSVILLE - Realizing that being part of something new and growing suited him just fine, Bullitt Central senior Jacob Richardson decided that signing on with the men’s golf program at Spalding University in Louisville was the best fit for him.
Richardson made it all official toward the end of the school year in a ceremony in the Bullitt Central library.
Spalding just recently went through a probationary period while moving up to NCAA Division III status. During that time, the school on South 4th Street added both men’s and women’s golf programs.
“The program is new,” Richardson said after completing all the paper work in front of family and friends at the signing event. “It is just up and growing and I want to be part of it. I also heard good things about the educational part at Spalding.
“Plus, it was also close to home,” the senior said. “I work at the golf course (Heritage Hill) so I can keep doing that.”
It has been the experience of working at the Heritage Hill facility that has helped form Richardson’s dreams for the future. He plans on working toward a Business Management degree at Spalding, but at some point he would like to transfer to Eastern Kentucky University to get into the golf management program that school offers.
“I’ve been thinking about that for a while now,” he said.
The 18-year old son of Lucy and Greg Richardson started playing golf when he was five-years old at the Knob View Golf Course in Lebanon Junction. He would go there and play golf with his father. As an eighth-grader he started playing in the Bullitt Central program where he played in the regional tournament for the past three seasons for Cougar head coach Shane Popplewell’s squad.
Richardson has a younger sister, Breanna, who is a freshman basketball player at Bullitt Central.
When Bullitt Central shifted its golf programs to Heritage Hill, Richardson fit right in, joining the staff at the course as a cart boy where he has worked for the past three years.
Still, it was only in the past few months that Spalding came into the picture as a viable golf option for Richardson. He also looked into attending Berea, Union and Campbellsville before deciding to stay closer to home at least for the first few years of college.
Spalding doesn’t have a real powerhouse program at this point (NCAA Division III programs do not provide athletic aide to student/athletes). Richardson was recruited more by Spalding athletic director Roger Burkman than he was the golf coach.
Spalding played in only four matches last season but then had a big finish.
Even with all the newness, the Spalding program has had some success despite having just five golfers this past season under head coach Chris Brown. The squad finished second as a team in the Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament in late April in St. Louis. The team had two of the top five finishers as well as another that finished 11th.
Spalding has finished second in the SLIAC Tournament for three straight seasons.
At this point, Spalding lists the Oxmoor Country Club as its home course, but Richardson thinks that the team might be changing courses by the time he arrives.
The five years in the Bullitt Central program produced a number of memorable moments.
“For high school, probably the most memorable moment has been the practices and the van rides,” Richardson said. “There have been a lot of memories.”
For 18 holes, Richardson’s best score has been a 74. In a competitive high school match over nine-holes, Richardson has shot an even par 36. He often works with swing coach James Heinlein.
“The thing I have to work on most is my putting,” Richardson noted. “Plus, I have to work on my overall consistency.”