Sophomore golf phenom looking to future

Sophomore Nate Stember hits a drive.

Last year, Nate Stember qualified for the U.S. Junior Ameteur in Tennessee, competed in the Junior PGA Championship in Rhode Island, and represented Team Oregon at the Junior America’s Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, not to mention helping the Lincoln men’s golf team to a third place finish at State.


He did all of that as a freshman. With this year and two more after that still ahead, his success may take him much further.


But it’s not like Stember hasn’t been around the game for a long time already. Stember, now a sophomore, started golfing when he was only 4 years old.


“I credit most of my achievements to my dad because he was my coach from ages 5 to15 and is the one who organizes all my tournaments. He supported me all along the way.”


One of Stember’s future goals is to play in college for a team that’s capable of winning a national championship. He’s already talked to the University of Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, University of Washington about joining their teams.


“I’ve talked to Stanford, but that’s not going to happen. They’re really good… That’s a goal I can set, to get good enough to go there” Stember said.


Stanford, which has produced great golfers such as Tiger Woods and Tom Watson, has won eight national collegiate championships and is currently the No. 14-ranked college team in the country, according to the NCAA.


This winter, Stember played basketball for the Lincoln Junior Varsity team and occasionally moved up to varsity. Because of basketball, Stember didn’t get time during the winter to practice golf.


“Nate is a really good teammate. Not only is he a good basketball player, but he’s a great leader on and off the court. You can tell by the way he walks around the halls that people like him, people appreciate him and that’s a sign of respect,” says Pat Adelman, Lincoln basketball coach.


While Stember has achieved all these feats, they remain unknown to a majority of students and teachers. A humble personality allows Stember to see where he can improve to get to his desired level of play.


“If you want to be really good, you have to practice a lot, every day,” he said.  


Stember quit baseball before freshman year for golf, but doesn’t plan on quitting basketball, too.


Lincoln’s golf season began last month and is now in full swing.


“The first two tournaments were rough. We won one and got second in another one. We should be able to win out from here.”


“Nate is a very good teammate. As an overall person, he’s outstanding,” says Lincoln golf coach Edward Sims. “He’s either first or second in the PIL this year in scoring. He’s a very phenomenal young man, I really enjoy working with him.”


Stember recently visited Georgia to attend the 2017 Masters Tournament, one of the four “major” tournaments on the PGA Tour each year.  While there, he got to see Jason Day, his favorite golfer, and Jordan Spieth, another professional player.


“It was a great experience because I got to see how the best players handle themselves under a lot of pressure. That could really help me grow as a player.”


After college, Stember hopes to play professionally.
“It has been my dream since I was 9 years old. All the work I’ve done and will do in the future is to achieve that goal.”