Moritz Ackerhans’ choice to pursue his golf career across the pond at DePaul University in Chicago has resulted in major improvements for the German golfer.
Ackerhans, who shot a +9 225 at the University of South Florida Invitational at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club, has blossomed in his fourth season of NCAA golf with a 74.25 scoring average and two second-place finishes after never finishing above sixth place in a tournament coming into the year.
According to DePaul men’s golf coach Betty Kaufmann, Ackerhans has gotten to the point where he the only thing left to focus on is getting it done.
“He knows what he has to do, it’s just execution at this point,” said Kaufmann. “He was always a technical guy [with a] solid swing.”
Even though Chicago is a long way from Ackerhans’ home town of Kiel in northern Germany, according to him, the choice to come to the United States to play golf wasn’t a difficult decision.
“If you want to play competitively there are not many options,” said Ackerhans. “[You can] stay home and practice by yourself with your coach and do it that way. Here, you play different courses and get different experiences. There is a lot of competition here.”
Ackerhans describes the transition to American life as “a lot of adjustment” but his team has many student athletes dealing with similar issues.
The DePaul golf team has a distinctly international flavor with players from Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Indonesia and only one member of the roster born in the United States.
Ackerhans, as the only senior who travels with the team, is the elder statesman of the group. He sees Depaul’s eclectic mixture as a definite positive.
“I think it’s great to meet people from all around the world,” he said. “They bring something that you don’t know…different experiences. It’s a good thing.”
With virtually flawless English and a calm demeanor throughout a round where he shot a disappointing 76 and struggled with his short game, Ackerhans gave the appearance of a guy who has adjusted to his surroundings effectively. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things he’ll admit to missing about Germany.
“Mainly food items,” said Ackerhans, cracking a smile, “Bread, we have a little bit different bread [in Germany]. Cheese is also terrible here.”
While Ackerhans might not be able to find sandwich ingredients to suit his tastes at DePaul, he has found the perfect place to hone his craft.