CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — For Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) student Nick Herman, golf is much more than a hobby or pastime — it’s a way of life. He was a member of the PSU-LV golf team that won the 2020-21 PSUAC Golf Championship in May 2021 and has come a long way from a junior golfer with an average score above 100 to a more recent range in the low 80’s.
Early on, Herman gravitated to ice hockey; but at the age of 12, he found interest in the greens after a childhood friend passed away. “A memorial golf tournament was held for him annually and I wanted to participate,” said Herman. “So, I started playing with my dad and going to the driving range in order to be able to earn my place in the tournament each year.”
He continued to play casually until his first year of college, when he worked at the Morgan Hill Golf Course in Easton and said he “got into it more.” His game improved "the old-fashioned way" — with regular practice. “I was playing three to four times a week and took a few lessons,” Herman said.
But Herman notes, the class he took at Penn State Lehigh Valley with athletic director Rick Fatzinger and golf coach Brian Exton helped him take that first important step toward fully embracing the game.
“Going to class each week and really learning the game — it encouraged me to keep with it,” he said.
The lessons he learned in class and on the course went well beyond improving his swing, he said.
“Golf teaches you patience. It can be a long game with four to five hours on the course. You can’t think about what’s already happened. You just have to focus on what’s next — that next swing, the next place the ball lands, how to build on the shot you just hit. It also teaches you dedication and has shown me that if I continue to work at something, it will change for the better," said Herman.
Winning the PSUAC Golf Championship was a bit like the icing on the cake following years of practice, he said.
“It was exciting. There were eight Penn State teams and a few teams from other schools. This was the first year I played in the championship. I just got out there and tried to play the best I could," said Herman, who scored a 173 in the championship.
The talented Penn Stater has no plans to give up the game after graduation — in fact, he hopes to make golf at least part of his livelihood.
“I’d like to stay in something golf-related with my business degree. Maybe go into the PGA program somehow. I’m open to anything business-related,” he said. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing. It’s good in that I can get out on the course with anybody — my dad, my friends … later on when I get a job, there is a lot of networking done while playing golf. And then there’s everything that comes with it — just getting outside in the nice weather. It’s a good overall sport and such an enjoyable time.”