Kevin Yerks’ collegiate golf career almost never got off the tee. His drive to Mason took detours in Miami and Harrisonburg.
It took a shot-in-the-dark email to Mason’s men’s golf coach Scott King for Yerks, a junior at Mason, to find his collegiate home in Fairfax.
Yerks’ post-high school golf career started with a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida. After a semester, Yerks realized that the Sunshine State was not a fit for him. He decided to bide his time at a community college just outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia, waiting for an opportunity to play collegiate-level golf again.
“For a while, I thought I might not get a chance to play again, as many coaches had already filled their rosters and did not have a spot on their team,” Yerks said. “I was seriously thinking about never playing again.”
That’s when King stepped in with an open spot on Mason’s men’s golf team.
“I owe a lot to him for getting me here and giving me a chance at playing collegiate golf,” Yerks said.
Yerks began playing golf around the age of four with his grandfather in Williamsburg, Va.
Yerks quickly fell in love with the sport and at age 12, met Pat McGuire who, to this day, remains his swing coach and mentor.
“He really got me thinking about playing golf competitively, and really inspired and mentored me to become the best player I could,” Yerks said. “I owe all of my success to him.”
Yerks’ career in competitive golf had its true beginnings in high school, when he won the Dulles District Tournament as a senior at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va. Yerks says that his personal best stretch of play just happened this past summer.
“I played some of the best golf of my life and it earned me a few wins at some quality tournaments and a ninth place finish in the State Open of Virginia,” Yerks said.
The State Open of Virginia pits the best Virginia golfers, both professional and amateur, against each other. Yerks finished an impressive 3-under par in the field.
One of Yerks’ favorite personal achievements is that he has two hole-in-ones to his name, one of which occurred on a par four, which Yerks noted was pretty cool.
Yerks’ play has also led to CAA accolades. Last year, Yerks earned All-CAA Second Team and he nabbed his second CAA Men’s Golfer of the Week honor of his Mason career at the end of September for his performance at the VCU Shootout tournament.
Yerks even shot during the three-day tournament to lead Mason to tie for ninth place in the tournament. But for him, simply being CAA Golfer of the Week is not enough.
“Even though I had great finishes in the tournaments that got me the award, I didn’t win those tournaments,” Yerks said. “And that is the ultimate goal: to start winning.”
Last season, Yerks had multiple top five finishes in various tournaments with Mason and had similar results to begin this year. Yerks is hoping to break through with a win sooner rather than later.
“I have two years left of eligibility and I don’t feel like I have played my best golf yet,” Yerks said. “But I am staying patient, getting better everyday, working hard and everything I want to accomplish will come.”
Because of his outstanding performance from last season and his performance so far in the current season, Yerks has become one of Mason’s most important golfers.
Yerks’ ultimate goal for his final two years at Mason is to have the golf team win the CAA Conference Championship and make it to the regional tournament.
“I think our team is a lot better this year and it has been a lot more competitive with guys playing well, so I think we could do some great things,” Yerks said.
Even while majoring in business management, Yerks has ingrained himself in the Mason community. He still continues to chip away at his goal of being the best golf player to ever represent the green and gold.