Sports

Kingston's Joey Duwe was made for golf

Kingston resident Joey Duwe is taking the college golf world by storm. - Brian J. Olson/Staff photo
Kingston resident Joey Duwe is taking the college golf world by storm.
— image credit: Brian J. Olson/Staff photo

Christmas of 2000 was the turning point for Joey Duwe.

That was the year the Kingston resident got his first pair of golf clubs. The gift set in motion events that would pay for much of his college education and determine his career goals. But it all began on a whim.

“I got clubs for Christmas because my brother was getting some and I didn’t know what to get,” said Duwe, 20. “I wouldn’t have been a golfer if he wasn’t a golfer.”

Duwe’s brother, Stephen, two years his senior, took an interest in the game when he picked up some plastic clubs as a small child. After a few years of off-and-on dabbling, Stephen Duwe wanted the real thing. Little brother just followed along, even though it wasn’t his primary interest.

“I was always a baseball player,” Joey Duwe said. “I didn’t really think much of golf.”

Duwe’s attitude changed as he began to play more.

“I just liked the feel of golf courses, and going out there and hitting a golf ball around,” he said. “I think that’s part of the golf allure, just going out in the woods and chasing your ball.”

Now, 10 years later, Duwe is one of the best golfers at his university and in his conference. Duwe has played the last two seasons at Corban University in Salem, Ore. The junior-to-be has put up some impressive numbers in the Cascade Collegiate Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He was named conference golfer of the week three times last season, twice after back-to-back tournament wins this spring at the Willamette Invitational and the Northwest Christian University Spring Invitational.

Duwe also set the school record at Corban for the lowest golf score, shooting a four-under 68 at the Concordia Invitational last October. In April, he capped his sophomore achievements by winning his conference’s player of the year award.

“He’s a really solid player,” Corban golf coach Ron Sisler said of Duwe. “The thing that sets him over the top is that he’s just mentally tough.”

Duwe is mostly self-taught. He can count on one hand the number of lessons he’s had in the past decade, though he admits he will eventually need professional advice the next time his game plateaus.

Most of Duwe’s training came informally, at Bremerton’s Gold Mountain Golf Club. Duwe and his brother would play there often growing up and honed their skills on the club’s Cascade Course. In high school, they both played for North Kitsap.

When Stephen Duwe began looking at colleges, he considered Corban, which was developing its golf program. He ultimately landed at The Masters College in Los Angeles and played for two years. His little brother remembered Corban in his own search for a school.

“I really made my college decision in about 24 hours,” Joey Duwe said.

Duwe visited Salem before his senior year at North and was hooked after one round of golf with Sisler.

“We kind of hit it off,” Sisler said. “We were trying to get serious about our golf program and he was one of our first recruits who was really an awesome player.”

Duwe is home in Kingston for summer break, but he hasn’t stopped winning golf tournaments. On July 18, he won the Bainbridge Island Amateur at Wing Point Golf and Country Club. His coach sees no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

“I really look for him to have a good year this year,” Sisler said.

Golf isn’t the only thing going on for Duwe, but it has had an effect on just about every major area of his life. His athletic scholarship paid for much of his education at the school where he met his girlfriend. And he plans to use his business management degree to eventually run a golf course. Duwe has also passed his older brother in almost every category of the game. All that’s left is to sink a hole in one.

“That’s one thing he has that I don’t,” Duwe said.

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