As a freshman in high school, Joseph Winslow had a goal of winning the Kansas State golf championship.
His peers thought it was too daunting of a task for him to accomplish.
But during the final round of the championship this year, Winslow proved them wrong as he made a 15-foot birdie putt to clinch his first of three consecutive class 5A titles.
“That’s one of the first moments where I thought, ‘Yeah, I’m the real deal,’” Winslow said. “I backed that up the following two times I played in the state championships.”
At the time, this was the pinnacle of his career and it was a long way from where he had come when he first picked up a club at
3 years old.
It wasn’t until he was 8 years old when Winslow started to really develop a passion for golf.
“When I was younger I got frustrated with it,” Winslow said. “But by the time I was about eight, the golf bug bit me and I couldn’t wait to get out there.”
Winslow’s dad Tony, a former professional golfer, was the driving force behind his passion for the sport.
Winslow said his dad built the mold for the type of player and person he wants to be.
“My dad is the most influential person in my life,” Winslow said. “I have a ton of respect for him.”
When coming out of high school as a highly recruited golfer, Winslow had many offers — including one from USF, but ended up at the Iowa.
It was there he was named an All-American in his first year of college.
It was a major accomplishment for Winslow, who received the news at a banquet following a 22nd place finish at the 2012 Nationals.
“I learned a lot about myself and what it took to be successful,” Winslow said. “I had to rely a lot on my instincts and my coaches who preached taking care of what you need to take care of.”
Though he was successful there, Iowa ended up being a stepping-stone to another destination — USF.
Winslow said decided he needed to leave Iowa for a warmer and more
golf-friendly environment — Iowa only played at a few courses throughout the year, which for Winslow wasn’t enough.
“My biggest goal is to play on the PGA tour,” he said. “But not just play, I want to contend to win each week and become the world’s greatest player landing me in the World Golf Hall of Fame.”
After being recruited early in his golf career, Winslow had it in his head that USF was a good option and it didn’t take much time until the decision was made.
Before Winslow could pick up the phone, he received an early morning call from USF men’s golf coach Chris Malloy making his case for why Winslow should play for the Bulls.
For Malloy, this was a steal and he knew it, he said.
“He is a quality player that a lot of other schools wanted to get their hands on,” Malloy said. “We had to do our best to show him what we had to offer here at South Florida.”
Other than sunny skies and beaches, Winslow said he’s noticed a significant difference in the mindset of his new team. He said everyone shares the goal of going professional after college.
One of these teammates is senior Richard James, who looks to turn pro by the end of this year. He and Winslow played together at Regionals last year and James was the first to greet him when he arrived in Tampa on Jan. 1.
It didn’t take long for the two to create an instant bond.
“I know (James) wants to push me,” Winslow said. “I want to push him too and get better each day.”
Winslow said it took a little while to adjust to his new life, and he sometimes felt like a freshman around campus.
But with a 10th place finish at the Bayou City Collegiate in Houston and a 16th place finish at the USF Invitational in Dade City, Winslow is settling right into his new home.
Winslow said Malloy and the Bulls have provided the right environment he needs to become the golfer he aspires to be, but said he still has personal obstacles to overcome.
“My biggest challenge is trusting what I’m doing and going out and executing it,” he said. “I’ve got all the talent in the world and I know that. It’s those days where you don’t feel 100 percent and you can still go out and shoot an under par round. That’s what makes you great.”
As serious of a golfer as Winslow is though, he said he tries to maintain his work ethic off the course in two of his favorite pastimes — magic and college basketball.
While taking online classes in Miami, Winslow said he needed to find a balance between schoolwork and sanity, which brought him to looking up card tricks in12