Superstitious or Not, Meet Utah’s Oscar Maxfield


(Photo by Steve Wilson, Courtesy University of Utah Athletics)

By Ryker Jackson, Sports Writer


Redshirt freshman Oscar Maxfield grew up close to the University of Utah — very close, in fact. He played high school golf at Olympus High School and was recruited by the U for quite some time.

“The U’s always pretty much been my No. 1 choice,” Maxfield said. “I started to get recruited by the U and talk to coaches spring of my junior year. Throughout the summer, I took two different visits and I ended up getting an offer and committed in November of my senior year.”

It’s no surprise that the weather here in Utah can be unpredictable, to say the least. It can also change on a dime and become very cold, right in the middle of golf season. Luckily for Maxfield, he is quite aware of this and has played in it his entire life. He was quick to point out that being a local and having grown up in the Salt Lake area has distinct advantages and has benefited him throughout his career.

“It would be a tougher adjustment if I had been from a warmer climate, but I’m used to it. It’s a good break honestly. You need a little break in the winter and when it snows we just take a week or two off.”

Of course, the weather is not the only benefit of being a local player. Being among the best in the state gives you an opportunity in high school to play with and against the best, and to know players that you will play with and against in college.

“About half of our team is from Utah. You know players on the team before you even get here. I knew that some of my teammates and good friends were on the team, and they just become better friends,” Maxfield said.

Thus far, the season has been one of ups and downs for both the team and individual players, with Maxfield facing the same trials throughout the season. With the conclusion of the Saint Mary’s Invitational last week, the fall portion of the golf season is over for the Utes, and they look forward to preparing for the next portion of the season beginning in February.

“As a team, we started out pretty strong and had a good spot after three events,” Maxfield said. “We didn’t finish as strong as we would have liked. Our finishing event was a learning experience. It could be called a letdown, but I think we just have to get back in the offseason and get better and come out ready for Hawaii in February.”

While the team did not play as well as they would have hoped in the final tournament of the 2019 portion of the season, Maxfield is not letting that tournament get in the way of his excitement or his preparation for the coming play beginning in Hawaii during February.

“Being in Utah, it’s tough with the snow, so it’s important for us to be able to take our time that we have to go down to Saint George and be there to be able to hit off real grass,” Maxfield said. “That’s important for us. While we’re in Salt Lake, just being able to go out when it’s freezing cold and hit balls on the mats and get our technique down so that we’re prepared when February comes.”

The team usually goes to Saint George every weekend during the winter up until February to practice, being that the weather isn’t necessarily conducive to good golf play. It’s quite a bit of travel time when its all added up, but for Maxfield and the Utes, it’s certainly worth it to improve their craft.

Just because Maxfield is from the Salt Lake area and played high school golf here doesn’t mean that he is immune to the changes in playing high school competition to college competition, on harder courses, and with added schoolwork as well.

“Difficulty of the golf courses. You need to be able to hit different shots around the green, off the tee. It’s a real challenge to get your schoolwork done with the time commitment that you have. Also competing with your teammates,” Maxfield said. “Everyone on our team was always the star on their high school team, and we’re all competing against each other to travel and be on the five-man team or individual or whatever it may be.”

One would think that with all the pressure on Maxfield that he’d be someone looking for good luck charms or help. This isn’t the case. He said that he isn’t a superstitious guy, but that he does like keeping to his routine.

“I like to have a routine. First, stretch, and then putt, then hit some balls, chip, then come back and putt again. I always make my last putt before I go to the tee. That’s my big thing.”

It’s not quite clear whether that qualifies as a superstition or not, but Maxfield has played well with his team thus far in his first year with the Utes golf team. He and the rest of the team will begin playing again in February when the team plays in Hawaii to open up the 2020 portion of the season.


[email protected]