PALO ALTO, Calif. (April 29, 2011) -- Martin Trainer is like any other student at USC, trying to get through classes, deciding on a major and contemplating the finer points of MTV's Jersey Shore. However, unlike the average student, Trainer has a golf career well on its way to the PGA tour.
Trainer began playing golf as an 11-year-old, but also any other sport he could get his hands on. From baseball to tennis to soccer, Trainer played them all. But as Trainer grew older, he began to take into account his tall and lean stature and realized golf was the right route for him.
“People are fit for different games,” he said. “And physically, I was a pretty good fit for golf.”
With his decision made, Trainer threw himself into his training, and aimed to become one of the most successful young golfers in California.
In 2008, Trainer almost qualified for the U.S. Open, falling short by only a few strokes. He went on to win the prestigious San Francisco City Amateur against some of the best amateur players in northern California in the same year. At 16, Trainer was the youngest player to win the tournament in its 92-year history.
“Gradually I realized that I was a pretty good player and that I could, if I set my mind to it, become great,” said Trainer. “And that’s when it took off.”
As Trainer began to look at colleges, the top of his list was clear. Stanford, California, USC and UCLA were all in the running, but USC came out on top.
“I liked the weather and atmosphere of USC,” said Trainer. “But I really liked the coaching staff and level of education.”
While his focus is on advancing his golfing career, Trainer has made great strides in setting up what he calls a “back up plan,” should he need one.
Recently, Trainer has applied to the Marshall School of Business in hopes of becoming a business major.
Not only does USC have one of the top business programs in the country, it also gives students the rare opportunity to bump elbows with several influential people, especially in golf.
Trainer has hit the driving range with Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld) and the actor Mark Wahlberg, as well as several influential USC alumni.
While connections and a degree from the Marshall School of Business are powerful tools to have, many are confident Trainer has what it takes to make a professional career out of golf.
“He has all the qualities it takes,” said USC’s assistant men’s golf coach Josh Brewer. “He has length, he’s smart and right now his work ethic is really good. We only get 20 hours a week to make him practice, but he easily adds his own 20 hours a week.”
Part of that training includes more than just constantly hitting the driving range. The team works out regularly together, but Trainer stressed the importance of stretching and constantly working on flexibility.
“It's probably more important or as important in golf as in any other sport,” said Trainer. “It’s constantly twisting and turning, and that’s why so many golfers, especially older golfers, have hip and back problems.”
While the strain of the sport may be stressful for the body, Trainer hasn’t let it slow him down. Most recently in Arizona, Trainer experienced his first win with USC against Arizona State.
“It was pretty exciting to get that first win since I’ve been here,” said Trainer.
For Trainer, the chance to act the part of a positive role model to those who would look up to him is appealing.
“There are so many guys out there that don’t realize it, but they’re role models to young kids,” he said.
Portraying a calm and cool manner is something that Trainer has noticed is lacking in several members of the PGA Tour, especially when it comes some of golf's biggest stars. Trainer has made it clear that he intends to become the ideal role model for young golfers, presenting a respectful and calm demeanor on the course.
This maturity has not only made a difference in his own play, but the teammates around him as well.
“We have four sophomores, three freshman, and one junior and they’ve struggled to find that leader on the team, and we’ve needed someone,” said Brewer. “[Trainer] has grown into that role.”
It hasn’t always been easy for Trainer to be in the spotlight, coming off as a very quiet and reserved person when he first arrived at USC.
“My first thought was he was a very quiet individual, very reserved,” said Brewer. “Not only in golf, but in life in general.”
Since then, Trainer has developed into a key asset for USC with several members of the coaching staff expecting big things from him in his future with USC.
“If he continues his work ethic for the next two years, we’re expecting him to be an All-American,” said Brewer. “I think that’s what he wants to be.”
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