June 25, 2018

Kahlstorf Shares Importance of Honesty in Sports and Life

Written by Amy Frierson


Prince Avenue alumnus and stand-out golfer Will Kahlstorf has received a great deal of attention throughout his middle and high school years for his ability on the course.  Mostly self-taught in his younger years, Will graduated from Prince Avenue with a stroke average of 72.4, led the Wolverines to a fourth-place finish in this year’s Class A Private state tournament, and was voted Athens Banner-Herald Golfer of the Year for three consecutive years.  The class of 2018 graduate will start his college golf career at the University of Georgia this fall. 

While these accomplishments are admirable and worthy of attention, sometimes it is the unseen and little known that deserve the accolades.  A player’s character and integrity are not displayed on the leaderboard, but from time to time, perhaps they should be. 

Recently Will had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Open local qualifier in which the top 8 advance to sectionals.  From there, the top four qualify for the U.S. Open. Just to have the opportunity to play in the qualifier was an honor, but Will was not just playing; he was playing well.  “At the time, I think I was even or one over going into the fourth hole.”

It was the fourth hole where Will made a mistake.  His mistake was not in his club choice or the mechanics of his swing.  “When I got to the fourth hole, I reached down and pulled my rangefinder out and shot the distance out of habit. When I shot it, I realized that I wasn't supposed to do that in this event. Rangefinders are not allowed.”

Will could have easily dropped the rangefinder in his bag and dismissed the mistake as a simple error, but that was not his response.  “In golf, everyone knows that honesty is key, so I went to the rules official to see what I should do.  He said the first offense resulted in a two-stroke penalty.” 

In such a competitive event, two strokes are a game changer.  Those two strokes kept Will from qualifying for sectionals and the chance of a lifetime as a high school graduate to play in the U.S. Open.  But Will expressed no regret in his decision to come forward with an innocent mistake.  “I know if I didn't turn that into the rules official, I probably could not live with that. It would always be in the back of my head, especially if I had qualified.” 

Prince Athletic Director Richard Ricketts expressed admiration for Will's decision to come forward.  "It's not every day that an athlete makes a tough decision to do the right thing even when it will cost him.  Will is a great golfer but an even better person."

When asked what advice he would offer younger athletes, Will’s response is simple.  “Honesty is always key no matter the circumstance whether it's sports or school or life. If you are honest, you will always be rewarded and be more respected.”