Orange Lutheran senior Ian Shahwan remembers first picking up a golf club as a young boy. His father used to play professionally, and Shahwan would spend time in the backyard with his dad mimicking his swings and putts.
Now the 17-year old has found his own love for the game, and it is the competitive side of golf that motivates him each day on the course.
“I'm really competitive in nature,” says Shahwan, “and I've played golf my whole life, so whenever I'm out with my friends, that's kind of what pushes me.”
The OLu boys golf team is having a tremendous season and currently sits undefeated at 6-0. Shahwan recently finished with a Top 7 individual score in Trinity League Finals and will advance to CIF Individual play at Los Serranos Country Club on May 9.
As a captain, Shahwan’s hope is always that the team would build strong chemistry together, as well as confidence in their play. The coaching staff feels he has the right mix of skills and leadership to be effective in that role.
"Ian is an incredible young man,” says OLu boys golf head coach Darren Kelso. “He is an exceptional golfer, but an even better leader for our team. Our program's core values are integrity, Christian character and accountability, and Ian displays these values both on the course and to our Orange Lutheran community. It is a pleasure to coach Ian and to be able to point to him as a model of the quality person our program represents."
Golf is mostly an individual sport, but playing for OLu allows Shahwan the opportunity to have the support of his team and his school behind him.
“I definitely try to be a role model and try to be a representative of the school on the course when I'm playing for OLu,” says Shahwan. “I hold a lot of pride in playing for the Lancers.”
Shahwan admits he is still a work-in-progress when it comes to facing the mental challenges of golf. But he leans on his faith to help him maintain the right mindset.
“I'm a person who, on the course, will lose confidence really fast in my game if it's not going the way I need it to go,” says Shahwan. “That's where a lot of prayer comes in, and that's when I hope for the best and know that if God wants me to play [well], if today is my day, then today's going to be my day no matter what.”
Shahwan is a first generation American with both Chinese and Israeli heritage, and attending high school at OLu has allowed him the opportunity to grow in his faith, including being baptized at the school during his freshman year.
“Knowing that there's a plan for me, and at the end of the day, I will get to where I need to go to, helps me stay calm,” says Shahwan. “It helps me just play my game.”
The four-year varsity golfer has his sights set on playing at the collegiate level alongside studying finance, with the future goal of playing professionally. Shahwan remains inspired by his mother, who didn’t have much when she came to this country but overcame a number of obstacles to provide for her son.
“When she was raising me, she definitely had a tough time and she did her best in that aspect,” says Shahwan of his mom. “She worked hard to get to where she is today, being a single mom. I find it admirable that sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to get to your goal. And my mom did have to sacrifice…but she raised me right.”