For most of us at Mines, schoolwork dominates our time and an hour or two of free time is a luxury. But CSM golfer Jim Knous’ priorities are a little bit skewed. In addition to attending 8 AM classes every day of the week, Knous will head out to Bear Creek golf course to spend not one, but five hours each day working on his game. In three seasons as an Oredigger, the junior civil engineer has recorded 15 top five finishes, four first place finishes, has earned All-RMAC accolades all three years, been named the RMAC freshman golfer of the year, and led Mines in scoring average all three years as well.
With the conclusion of the regular season last week, Knous hopes to lead the Orediggers deep into postseason play. For the second consecutive season, Mines has qualified as a team to compete at the Regional Tournament in Albuquerque, NM, taking place during dead week. The top five finishing teams and the top two individual scoring golfers will then advance to the national championships in Alabama. In 2008, Mines failed to qualify for the Regional Tournament as a team and Knous, the Oredigger’s sole representative, finished a single stroke away from advancing. During last season’s run, the team finished in 13th place and Knous fell short of the National Tournament once again, this time by a mere two strokes.
So as the rest of the Mines community will be channeling all of their energy into preparations for final exams, Knous will look to finally break the trend of the past few years to become the first golfer in recent Mines history to reach nationals. For his performance and representation of Mines on the course, Jim Knous is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
Oredigger: What does your practice schedule look like?
Knous: We have mandatory practices three days a week, but we like to get out to the course every day. Some days we just get out to the driving range, other days we play a full 18 holes. Sometimes before tournaments we have qualifying rounds, to get some competition and see who gets to travel.
How did you start golfing?
I grew up in Basalt, CO, and I’ve pretty much been playing my whole life since I was like three or four. When I was at the State Tournament in high school, the Mines coach was there watching my teammate, and we just started talking, and I ended up coming here to play.
How do you prepare for each tournament?
We get there on Sunday and play a practice round and hit a bunch of shots from the range. I like to get in some shots in the short game, because that’s what usually separates the golfers.
What has it been like to watch the golf team develop over the past few years?
It’s been pretty cool. When I started my freshman year, coach brought in seven of us and we were okay, but not great. Ever since, coach has really recruited well and the competition throughout makes everyone better, and forces everyone to improve. It’s been a great college experience so far.
What is your favorite golf memory?
Probably my first tournament freshman year. I ended up winning the first tournament I played in and shot a 67 in the final round to beat out my teammate, who was my roommate. It was a great experience.
How do you stay focused on both finals and golf while the regional tournament is going on?
It’s tough. I kinda put school in the back of my mind. I know it sounds bad, and my grades kind of suffer, but I try to focus on golf. I take it shot by shot, and try to do the best I can even if I have a bad hole. I try to have a good attitude, too. Golf is a mental game.
Who is your favorite pro golfer to watch?
Ernie Els. He’s got such a fluid, effortless-looking swing. I try to make my swing look like his every time I go out.
What is your favorite hole at Augusta?
Definitely number 12, the par three. It’s just an awesome looking hole. They make it look so easy on TV.
Favorite part about being a student athlete?
Probably all the free golf I get to play. If I wasn’t on playing for a college team, I would have to pay every time I wanted to play.
If you could change one thing at Mines, what would it be?
Less homework. That makes it tough for sure.
What has been your favorite class?
Probably mechanics of materials or dynamics, one of those.
What do you love about golf?
That feeling you get when you’ve hit a great shot. And you know you can always do better, no matter how well you do. It’s that drive to be better that I love.