Park City golfer Griffin Ward signs with Kenyon College
On Wednesday, Park City High School senior golfer Griffin Ward committed to play for NCAA Division III Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
Ward came to Park City just before his freshman year, moving from Concord, Massachusetts, where he lived since he was 12. He was born in Midland Park, New Jersey.
Ward started golfing at age 10, when his stepfather, Kevin Lane, took him and a group of kids to a driving range.
“We just started hitting balls,” Ward said. “I’ve played golf ever since.”
But for a long time, his passion was skiing.
Ward first clipped into skis at a year old and started competing in moguls skiing at age 8. He continued to compete after he moved to Park City, where he joined Park City Ski and Snowboard and rose in the rankings to within the top 50 in the U.S.
But golf was pulling him in another direction.
“I kind of was sick of the competition in moguls skiing,” Ward said, reflecting back on his sophomore year at PCHS. “A run is only 20 or 30 seconds, a golf round is, like, four hours. I like that more.”
He also liked the challenge of mastering golf and the team aspect that came with competing at PCHS.
“Being part of the team is great,” he said. “You have the support of other guys and everyone is trying to push each other to be better. It’s competitive, but at the same time you want everyone to do well. It’s a great environment to get better at golf.”
Coach George Murphy said he could see Ward’s enthusiasm and talent for the game start to emerge during his sophomore year, and Ward started to get more playing time.
Before his junior year, Ward decided he would focus on the links. He didn’t pick up a summer job to allow more time to practice, and started working diligently on his short game at Park Meadows Golf Course – his usual haunt.
Ward didn’t initially see the fruits of his labor. He played well during his junior season but didn’t make the state team.
But then, all the hard work and focus came together for Ward as a senior, especially in his contribution at the Class 4A state championship at Birch Creek Golf Course in October last year.
Ward notched two contributing scores – a 74 and a 76 to help the team take first for the 11th straight year.
He tied for 10th best score at the meet with Tyler Clayson of Spanish Fork and Peyton Thevenot of Tooele.
“It was just a storybook ending for his career as a PCHS golfer,” Murphy said. “It was pretty sweet.”
In November, Ward went to look at Kenyon, and got a good feeling about the campus. He liked coach Grant Wallace, who he said was easy to talk to, like the rest of the tight-knit golf team.
Wallace is going into his seventh year as head coach of the Lords, who compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
“I wanted to go to a smaller liberal arts school and I wanted to play golf,” Ward said. “Those were my two big things and Kenyon has both of them.”
When Ward arrives next fall he plans on poking around some pre-law classes to see what the profession has to offer. He said he wants to explore the field before picking something. But he said one idea is already germinating.
He said he could see himself representing a golf course.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.