Haskell Indian Nations University
Haskell University Senior Josh Little Axe, Absentee Shawnee, takes a swing

Brotherhood, Clubs and Tiger Woods: Haskell Golfers on Good Red Road

Rodney Harwood

For the guys on the Haskell Indian Nations University golf team, their love of the game has helped them form a brotherhood.

“We’re just all kind of homegrown,” said Deryk Speck, a Seminole/Creek, who won the Ottawa University Invitational during the fall schedule. “So, when you see these kids that can afford lessons and have the best equipment, it gives us a competitive fire to show them, as Indians, we can do anything they can do.”

Skyler Allen, Cherokee, is a redshirt freshman, but he knows that he is a part of something special at Haskell.

“Our team is a brotherhood. Being an all-Native school, we’re a lot closer than others,” he told ICTMN. “One of our motto’s is ‘Many Nations, one goal.’ It’s not all about being the best athlete, but growing as a family and showing people what we’re capable of.”

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“I think our kids come from a unique background in that they haven’t been playing as long as the guys they compete against,” said Haskell golf coach Gary Tanner, who is in his fourth season after 16 years as the Fighting Indians head football coach. “They play more for the love of the game, but they can play.”

Notah Begay III, played in the Cardinal NCAA National Championships and became the first Native American on the PGA Tour. He might have four tour wins, but it was Tiger Woods that captured the attention of America’s youth, even the Indian kids.

“I was primarily a Tiger guy at first,” said Speck, who has been playing junior golf since fourth grade. “But I really look up to my dad [Mark] because he’s the one who taught me everything I know. I’m pretty much self-taught, but dad’s always been there, and really helped me with the mental part.”


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