Daniel Mort, a Senior Golfer at Oswego State, was introduced to Golf at a very early age His father and Grandfather introduced him to the sport at the age of four, and he has been in love with it ever since.
Although he loved it, Mort claims that he wasn’t too good in his early years. The only way to get better was practice and motivation, and he wasn’t in this alone. Behind him was a supportive family who wished nothing but the best for him.
“My family has always supported me on the golf course and they are always at every tournament,” Mort says. “They help me see the bigger picture that I’m just playing a game that is meant to be enjoyed.”
Mort’s goal wasn’t just to make the High School team but he eventually wanted to be able to play at a higher level. The only way to make his dream come true was to practice every day he had an opportunity.
“I’d get home from elementary school and practice in the backyard,” Mort said. “By the time I reached high school, I barely made the school’s golf team but I worked even harder to get better.”
After barely making his way onto the High School team Mort went on to become a two time MVP in his Junior and Senior seasons. He also went on to earn First-Team All-League his senior year. This earned Mort a spot on the Oswego State golf team and new obstacles fell in his lap.
“His first two years on a pretty talented team he played in limited events and that lack of tournament time motivated him to work on those areas that needed improvement, said Head Men’s Golf Coach Michael Howard. Mort understood that he needed to improve if he wanted a spot on the team.
“My first few years were a struggle as I played terrible and I couldn’t keep up with the competition,” Mort said. “I would get to practice an hour early and stay an hour after just to keep working and get better.” Coach Howard said, “That work ethic propelled him into the starting five and one of the more consistent players over the last two years.”
Mort’s freshman year consisted of him going to practice and working as hard as he could with the time he was given. During his sophomore year he could see his game improving and was starting to get some playing time in tournaments. He practiced as much as he could, worked out, and studied some golf and sport books in order to improve his mental game as patience was something he lacked on the course.
To be a great golf player, skill is not the only thing that is needed as sportsmanship is something that is important to be respected among the community. Mort has earned the respect of the people he plays with and even the athletes he plays against.
“One thing that I will remember was what a coach of another team had to say about him. The coach had to give Dan a ride out to a starting location on the golf course for a tournament,” coach Howard said. “When the coach got back to the clubhouse he pulled me aside and told me what a nice young man Dan was, he indicated that they had a very nice conversation and he was really impressed with Dan and his demeanor, a quality person.”
Mort’s sportsmanship would be recognised by the conference being awarded the Oswego State Empire 8 Conference Sportsmanship Award. His teammate, Erik Schleicher, has been on the team with Mort since his freshman year, and became very close to him last year.
“Dan is a good teammate and a better friend,” Schleicher said. “He is caring, compassionate, and has a good head on his shoulders.”
Then the coronavirus outbreak came to the United States. America was forced into a quarantine and all athletics were suspended indefinitely. Some athletes are losing their shot at a championship title, some are missing out on experience on the field , and others are missing out on their final season as a college athlete.
Going into his senior year Mort was golfing his best game and he had high hopes for his final season. During Spring Break Mort went to a golf course on Myrtle Beach. That is when Mort got notified that the rest of his Senior season would be cut short by the coronavirus outbreak. There would be no more tournaments and he would no longer be a golfer for Oswego State.
“It sucked. I had such high hopes for my last semester of school and last season of college golf.,” Mort said. “However, life changes and nothing is ever set in stone.”
But just like the other challenges in his life, Mort isn’t going to let this virus block his path. Mort’s goal since day one has been to reach a higher level, and that goal hasn’t stopped yet.
“As upsetting as the coronavirus may be for a lot of senior student athletes it’s important to realize that we’re lucky to have the time we did and not have our time cut short from injury or ineligibility, Mort said. “This virus is completely out of our control and so we must move forward and cherish the good memories we made.”
Mort’s golfing career has endless possibilities. He has currently been offered an internship with the NYS Golf Association. He will be assisting with administrative tasks and conducting state tournament events that the association sponsors.
Mort’s career as a golfer has no end in sight as he still is looking to pursue golfing after this outbreak has diminished. Mort hopes to take part in a New York State amatuer golf championship to help push himself farther.
“This part of my golf career is over but I’d be damned if I don’t take all of my hard work and skill in the game and put it to good use in another tournament, Mort says.
But with all the obstacles he has faced and all of the achievements he has earned, Mort still believes that playing for Oswego State is a memory he will never forget.
“You can take away all of my academic achievements and anything other awards I’ve received,” Mort says. “Being able to say I played on the Oswego State golf team is my biggest achievement.”