The "Senior Spotlight" series is a collection of stories of Columbia's senior student-athletes in their final semester as Lions. Originally published in Lions Den, below is a profile on senior men's golfer Clark Granum.
After four years of playing golf at the NCAA Division I level, senior Clark Granum has shown that he can pretty much do anything he puts his mind to, both on the golf course and off of it.
He has been a member of three Ivy League Championship men's golf teams, and has finished in the top 10 in each of those tournaments to lead the Lions to victory. He became the first Columbia men's golfer to earn All-Ivy League honors four straight seasons with a seventh-place showing at the 2011 Ivy League Championship, and was named a Golf Coaches Association of America All-America scholar.
Granum will graduate from Columbia's highly-competitive Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science this week, and most recently earned the Connie S. Maniatty Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete Award.
As a high school senior, Granum showed signs of things to come as he led his Torrey Pines High School team to consecutive Palomar League titles as a sophomore and junior. He also placed fifth at the California Interscholastic Federation state tournament as a junior.
When it came time to decide on where to take his talents as a high school senior, the San Diego native eventually chose to make the trek all the way across country to Morningside Heights.
"I think New York City was the most appealing part of Columbia," says Granum, who was also recruited by George Washington and had interest from Ivy League schools Penn and Yale. "I ultimately decided to come [to Columbia] because it was a perfect balance of academics and golf."
As a first-year, Granum started every tournament for a Columbia team that progressed throughout the season and peaked with an Ivy League title at Galloway National Golf Course. The Lions erased a two-stroke deficit on the final day to claim their second conference title in school history. Despite shooting a one-over par 72 to lead the team and being named All-Ivy League with a third-place finish, it wasn't always easy for Granum throughout the second semester of his first year at Columbia.
"First semester wasn't so bad considering I only took four classes, but sometimes in second semester I would have to cram or turn in an assignment that I knew I could have done a little bit better on," Granum says. "I remember leaving for NCAA Regionals and had one day left to pack and store everything from my dorm. I hardly studied for one of my finals as a result, but when we got to Seattle I was relaxed to play at the West Regional."
As a sophomore, Granum once again shined when it mattered most as his fifth-place finish helped the Lions to another Ivy League title. Included in his three-day performance was an opening-round 68 that helped set the tone for the team triumph. Granum turned it up a notch - even for him - as a junior, as he recorded six rounds of par or better, the second-highest total in a single season in program history (Chris Condello, 8, 2005-06).
At the Ivy League Championship that season, which was held at the famed Lower Course at Batrusol Golf Club, Granum tied for the championship lead after 54 holes and fired a closing-round 67 to lift Columbia to its third straight championship. Although he was defeated by Penn's Scott Williams on the first playoff hole for medalist honors, Granum still reflects on that tournament as one of the bright spots in his Columbia career. "The championship at Baltrusol was really memorable, with it being our third in a row and having it at such a historic golf course."
In late April 2011, the Lions went for a fourth straight conference title but came up short as they finished second to Yale. But Granum once again stood out, shooting a 72 on the event's final day to tie for seventh and earn second team All-Ivy League status. In doing so, he became the first Columbia golfer to earn accolades from the conference in four straight seasons.
Through it all, Granum says he'll always have fond memories of his golf career at Columbia. "I'll always remember the interactions I have had with all my teammates. There have been many comedic moments and many serious, yet memorable moments that will be impossible to forget."