All-State Indian golfer signs with Blue Tigers

Osage senior golfer Jacob Krantz has always had plenty of potential.

That is what Gregg Andrews, a 10-year veteran Iowa high school golf coach and mentor, saw when he retired to the Lake area and met the young golfer in 2012.

“I met his father (Jeff) playing golf and he told me he had a young man that was interested in playing golf, but was pretty raw,” Andrews recalled. “He asked me if I would help and that his how it began. What I found was, yes, a very raw kid who did not have much golf knowledge, but a ‘drop-dead’ work ethic. I mean, there was nothing he could not do and he did not really have any bad habits. He was just kind of a novice.”

On Monday, Andrews watched the novice sign his letter of intent to play golf for Division II Lincoln University out of Jefferson City and the mentor could not be more proud of how far Krantz has come.

“We’ve worked now for three-and-a-half years and now he has signed to go to a good school and is going to stay fairly close so mom and dad can maybe see him play a little bit. It is a perfect situation,” he added.

Krantz liked the way things turned out himself and figured that he certainly would not mind having the opportunity to continue playing a game he loves while advancing his education.

“When I play on my own it is kind of therapeutic. You get away from everything and drive yourself insane for a couple of hours,” the senior said with a smile. “It is just a lot of fun.”

A key part of the golfer’s decision was proximity to home while still being able to do a significant amount of traveling. Krantz also liked what he heard from first-year coach Steven Mallow, who played collegiately for the Blue Tigers from 2010 to 2014.

“I really like the coach and where he is taking the program. Coach ‘Mal’ is a great guy and we share a lot of values,” Krantz said of his decision. “I liked his determination and what he was talking about and it just kind of clicked.”

Osage coach L.J. Weeks thinks the school will get a pretty good return on its investment in the young golfer as well, seeing firsthand what he can be capable of. In three seasons with the Indians, Krantz has earned numerous top 10 tournament finishes, three All-Conference selections, two All-District selections and All-State recognition last year after finishing fifth in the state of Missouri for Class 3.

“He is the hardest working and hardest practicing golfer I’ve met so I think adding that to any team is a bonus,” Weeks pointed out. “He’ll really make that team better, and they are already a good team, but he’ll really move them along.”

Weeks will get to work with Krantz one more time this spring and the coach said he will not take that time for granted when the Indians hit the course in 2018.

“We’ve spent so much time together I’ve kind of looked at him as one of my sons so this last year is going to be bittersweet,” the coach noted. “It is nice that his younger brother Zach is a freshman and having both of them together for one year is going to be super. Zach is a great player already so seeing those two together is going to be a lot of fun.”

Krantz said his time at Osage has produced plenty of enjoyable memories of his own.

“A lot of good ones and interesting ones,” the senior noted. “State last year was really fun and being able to go to sectionals with four guys was a lot of fun. The camaraderie- I’ve known these guys since I was in fifth grade so that will obviously be bittersweet this season. That will be the main thing, just kind of the team atmosphere.”

Krantz will certainly be looking to get another good shot at state before moving on to the college ranks. However, his path from being a novice to signing his letter of intent was not an easy one. The senior said practice and repetition played a major part and Weeks would certainly agree, pointing out the lessons other golfers on the team could learn from his example.

“I think seeing how much work you have to put in to make thing happen will encourage them to go work harder themselves,” the coach stated.

The coach also said it does not hurt to have a great supporting cast.

“I’m not sure when Osage has had another male play at the college level on scholarship. If we have had one it has been quite a while so it is great for our school, great for Jacob and it has been a great team effort,” Weeks said. “His parents are fantastic people and very supporting and Andrews has really helped him a lot over the years, so it is great to see Jacob move on and we are all very excited.”

Andrews also commended that team effort.

“I would like to give a little bit of a shoutout to L.J. Weeks. Some coaches are not real receptive or have a difficult time with other people that are involved in the coaching process and that was not the case with L.J.,” he said. “In fact, he was appreciative, I think, of what we were doing and even asked how we could interface better. I’m very fortunate to have met L.J. and to have worked with Jacob.”

And now they will all get to watch Krantz continue his career with keen interest.

Krantz said he plans to study business and economics at the school.