Driving to What Matters

Sept. 17, 2013

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By Joey Nelson

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - As a student-athlete who loves his sport, Kyle Wilshire will be the first to tell you that he is a golf fanatic. At the end of the day, however, family comes first. His parents, Don and Laura Wilshire, taught him that message and showed him the importance of work ethic and education, two factors that drive not only his career goals, but his everyday life.

Wilshire is in his final year at UCF and is one of four seniors on the men's golf team. He has played an essential role in UCF's success on the course, including the team's 16th-place finish at the NCAA Championship this past year. As graduation approaches, Wilshire said his family and UCF have more than prepared him to accomplish his goals, which include becoming a professional golfer and a golf-course manager.

"My first career goal and my dream is to play professional golf," Wilshire said. "I play, and I practice, and I put too much into this game, not just to represent my school but [because] I want to be out there on the tour; that would be a dream come true."

The jump up into the pros, as Wilshire explained, is no easy task and requires a passion for the game that is derived from a persistence to be successful, which Wilshire said he learned from his parents. His mother, Laura, works on the assembly line for Toyota in Kentucky, while his father works as a club professional for two golf courses and also helps run the family restaurant. His brother, who Wilshire said is his hero, has served two tours with the Marines and also has three children, while his sister is a member of the women's golf team at Auburn.

"Nothing's ever come easy for my family," Wilshire said. "We've always had to work hard. It's just something that's in us. We don't do it for money. I think it's just more peace of mind, knowing that we got out there and made the most of the day, made the most of life. We just work hard."

It is the Wilshire family's will to persist that also carries into the classroom and motivates the young man to get the job done. Wilshire understands that there will be a day when playing golf comes to an end but that doesn't mean he has to stop being a part of the game he loves.

Viewing the management side of golf firsthand has provided Wilshire with an outlet to apply what he's learned as a business management major to the management and operations of a golf course. He also said that he actually loves school. He and fellow golfer Greg Eason, who Wilshire says is his best friend and roommate, were awarded Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors in early August, which Wilshire said was extremely rewarding and well worth the effort.

Wilshire aims to close out on top with his Knights, leaving their legacy on a "good note" by winning the conference championship in their new league, The American. From deeply rooted family matters to a rigid backbone of persistence, Wilshire has proven his drive not only on the course but also in the classroom and his everyday life.

"The main thing is, something I learned from my parents, if you work hard and you leave the day, every single day, when you lay your head down at night, and you know that you've given everything to the effort to be better, whether that's in golf or that's in business, then things will work out and you can live with yourself."



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