A fresh force on the links for men’s golf

Jack Persons’ shoelaces say a lot.

The golfer’s purple laces are unique and noticeable – the same as the freshman. In just his third collegiate competition, Persons shot a 9-under-par 54-hole score of 207 at the Old Dominion-Outerbanks Collegiate Tournament Oct. 25, finishing fourth overall and setting a new GW record. That week, Persons was named both the A-10 Player and Rookie of the Week for men’s golf.

Head coach Terry Shaffer knew Persons was talented, and he knew the San Francisco native beat top amateur golfers in tournaments while in high school. But he wasn’t expecting such a dominant start to Persons’ career as a Colonial, calling it a “nice surprise.”

“The team and I could not be happier for or more proud of Jack,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer was one of the catalysts for Persons’ journey across the country to Foggy Bottom. The coach was “generous,” Persons said, and worked hard to attract the freshman to join GW on the links.

Persons picked up a club at the urging of his father, who used the sport for “family bonding,” he said. But the freshman didn’t hesitate to travel across the country for college.

D.C. reminds him of San Francisco in some ways, Persons said, and he likes how integrated GW’s campus is with the rest of the city. More than anything else, the move was a challenge that Persons, who is quick to call himself an extrovert, welcomed.

“I like meeting people and trying new things,” Persons said.

It wasn’t instant success for Persons on the course as a Colonial, and after an early tournament at Hartford, he decided to readjust his swing, making it simpler and easier to repeat.

Persons went to his teammates, seeking out their veteran advice and guidance. He said the rest of the Colonials helped retool his swing and putting performance, parts of his game he believes were vital aspects of his play at Old Dominion.

His quick attribution of the changes in his play to teammates is characteristic of Persons, who exhibits a strikingly calm, humble demeanor. He’s close with the rest of GW’s roster, and said each member of the team is just as capable of performing equally well.

Besides, he’s already trying to figure out how to beat himself.

“I don’t go around saying, ‘Hey, I’m A-10 Golfer of The Week,’ ” Persons said. “I think anyone on the team has a chance at [the new record]. I hope to break it in the next few years.”

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