When Bryce Howard’s junior season came to an end one stroke shy of state in the fall of 2017 he made a decision.
The Muscatine boys golfer decided he didn’t want his upcoming senior season to be his last taste of competitive golf, and he was able to ensure that by petting pen to paper Wednesday morning.
Howard signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to continue his golf career at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a division II school that plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota.
“It’s a huge weight off my chest, honestly,” Howard said. “My mom and I spent a lot of time looking at schools trying to find the right one, and we’re happy we found the Mines.”
The Muskie senior described the Mines as “the perfect school,” and a big reason for that are the similarities his future coach shares with Scott Schultz, the Muscatine boys golf coach.
“The coach recruiting me, (head coach) Tye Roy was very similar to my high school coach,” Howard said. “He’s new to the program and he has a very strong vision for the future. He wants to bring in a bunch of kids who could compete right away and boost the program in a few years.”
The Hardrockers haven’t finished in the top half of any of their five invites this year, but they only have one senior on the roster and with the addition of Howard there’s plenty of room to grow in the 2018-19 season.
Howard had an average score of 79 in 18-hole rounds in his senior season, barely below his 79.6 average in his junior season. He said his mother, Tanya Howard, played a major role in the recruiting process.
Howard is majoring in engineering, so he and his mother found schools on NCSA – a recruiting website – where he could both play golf and get an engineering degree.
The Mines was one of those schools, but it was far from the only place he and his mother reached out to. However, once Howard heard back from the Mines the recruiting process didn’t take long to conclude.
“We were out there within two weeks because we were so excited,” Howard said. “It turns out it was just really the perfect school.”
Now that Howard no longer has to worry about finding a school, he’s focused on improving as much as possible before he heads to Rapid City in a few months to start his collegiate golfing career.
“I want to work on pretty much everything over the next couple months,” Howard said. “I’ll work on everything from putting to driving. I want to hit more fairways, more greens, and make more putts.
“I want to be the best I can be when I get there.”