Senior Spotlight: DJ Springer, Men’s Golf

The lone senior captain reflects on his journey with golf


Photo courtesy of DJ Springer.

Senior DJ Springer swinging

Before high school, senior captain DJ Springer never thought golf would be his sport.

“I loved other sports. Growing up, it was mainly football and basketball for me. I didn’t really start playing golf until the summer going into my freshman year of high school,” Springer said.

He continued by explaining the dynamic of sports at his high school, and from what it sounded like, playing multiple varsity sports was a tall task. As an undersized freshman trying to compete on both the basketball court and golf course, Springer saw a brighter future on the greenery. With that said, he made the difficult decision to put down the basketball and focus on golf.

Little did Springer know at age 14, his decision to pursue golf was the beginning of a major success story.

“I was not ready at all to play at the collegiate level until the summer after my junior year. I didn’t make varsity until that year. Once I did, I played decently well, but the summer after my junior year is when everything changed for me. I don’t know what happened. Everything kind of switched. All the practice that I had done those past three years started to pay dividends. That summer opened doors for me to play at the next level,” Springer said.

For many student-athletes, it is usually a life-long dream to play at the collegiate level. When Springer started playing golf, however, he mentioned his dream of playing a college sport was in question – not because he did not want to, but rather he did not know if he could make it there. He simply played golf out of passion, and his dedication eventually landed him an offer to play golf for the Tigers.

Much like his freshman year of high school, Springer had to recreate a name for himself when arriving on campus in the fall of 2018.

“Luckily, I was able to come in and be put on the travel team. I was able to make an impact right away, which was a big reason why I chose Trinity,” Springer said.

With a solid freshman season under his belt, Springer felt good heading into his sophomore campaign. While he described his sophomore fall as one of the ‘lower points’ in his career at Trinity, his spring season – along with all other student-athletes across the nation – was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the announcement of the pandemic was a nightmare for many athletes, Springer saw this time away from competition as an opportunity to improve.

With golf being one of the few sports that was safe in relation to COVID-19 protocols, Springer found himself at the course nearly every week during his time at home. It was during this initial spring of COVID that he made a major decision: to change his swing. After spending years with his swing coach from his high school days, Springer decided to turn to his head coach at Trinity, Sean Etheredge, for swing advice.

While Zoom calls with Coach Etheredge were great, Springer noted that larger changes began to happen when he arrived back on campus in the fall of 2020.

“I started working with Coach Etheredge and another teammate of mine to change big parts of my swing […] to shift gears on what I was working on. It took a little bit to get used to, but once I got it, it all kind of clicked for me and I started swinging a lot better,” Springer said.

When the spring 2021 season came around, Springer was hungrier than ever to put his new swing to the test. And, in their first major tournament (Alamo City Classic), Springer was crowned as the champion – shooting 69-68 to claim his first individual collegiate title. With his swing change being a long and sometimes frustrating eight-month process, winning this tournament gave Springer reassurance that all his hard work paid off.

“I really only get nervous when I know I haven’t prepared correctly – when I’m not really ready. But at that moment, I knew what I had to do. I felt really confident, so there were really no nerves,” Springer said.

Springer went on to finish the spring 2021 season with PING All-Region and GCAA All-American honors. He was also a two-time SCAC Player of the Week. With his significant contributions, Springer helped Trinity Men’s Golf win the SCAC Championships for the first time in eight years, qualifying for the National Championships for the first time in 18 years.

“Overall, that post-season was by far the biggest jump I’ve made in my collegiate career. It was also the most fun year that our team has had yet,” Springer said.

A huge dynamic of last year’s team was the senior leadership. The team consisted of four seniors total, two of them being fifth-years. With all of them graduating from the team that spring, it made sense for Springer, the sole rising senior, to step into the captain role.

“It’s been a good adjustment. We had a bulk of our senior leadership leave all at once, so I had to step into that leadership role [this season]. And it’s been fun. It’s exactly what I’ve wanted […] Coming to Trinity, I wanted to take on a leadership role and be that guy on the team who players can look up to as an example,” Springer said.

And Springer has done just that: lead by example. Given his countless hours spent at The Quarry Golf Course, it was not a surprise to see Springer defend his title, finishing as the back-to-back champion of the Alamo City Classic. As for what he looks forward to for the remainder of the season, Springer pointed to the SCAC Championships, which begin this Monday, April 18.

“If we can win the conference, that would be back-to-back conference titles for our program. That might be the first time that Trinity has ever done that. We have not had the greatest season, but if I can go out and win the tournament individually and help our team win the tournament collectively, our season would still be a success. I think we have a good chance to [win it],” Springer said.

As the senior captain said, Trinity Men’s Golf has all its attention on the SCAC Championships. With our Tigers being the reigning conference champions, DJ Springer hopes to lead his team to make school history for the program. With it potentially being Springer’s last conference championships, the tournament will be one to follow in the coming days.