NMMI Sports Press
Twin brothers Peter and Paul Choi have verbally committed to play golf for Sterling College next season. The two college sophomores are both important members of a Bronco golf team that hopes to earn another appearance at this year’s NJCAA National Championships.
The Choi boys are Korean natives, but after age eight, grew up and learned to play golf in South Africa. Both came to the United States looking for an opportunity to play golf while earning their degrees. But initially, the twins chose different paths.
Peter came to NMMI as a freshman, after being recruited by former Bronco head coach Skip Gooch, while Paul decided to play for Dodge City Community College in Kansas.
Peter was impressive during his rookie season at NMMI, consistently posting the top scores and tournament finishes for a young and streaky Bronco men’s golf team. Paul, at DCCC, was perhaps even more impressive, helping the Conquistadors finish just three strokes short of a top-10 finish at last year’s JUCO championships.
Back together at NMMI for their sophomore seasons after a transfer by Paul last semester, the twin tandem have put the national spotlight again on NMMI golf: the Broncos are ranked No. 18 in the country as the start of the 2017 spring season begins.
But despite being twins, their golf games are actually quite different.
Peter says the best part of his game are his irons.
“My iron shots are good because I’ve got the rhythm and tempo down,” he said. “I used to swing really fast and my tempo and body harmony would just go out of control, but I practiced during the winter and now my iron shots are the most solid part of my game.”
Paul likes the driver.
“My driver is my favorite club because I never miss the fairway. I don’t hit very far but I keep it straight with a decent amount of distance.”
Both say they need to work on their putting, and mentioned a training routine that head coach Andy Robertson has them working on once a week, the dreaded “Pressure Tuesdays.”
“They have to make 10 three-footers, then eight 4-footers, and five 5-footers,” he explained. “If you miss, then you have to run to the cart barn and back, which is about 300 yards away. So instead of waiting until we get to a tournament at Midland College for pressure to be added to that three-foot putt, we put it on them right here.”
Peter and Paul both had high praise for their coach, one of the main reasons the brothers currently attend NMMI.
“Coach Robertson is a very organized person,” said Peter. “He teaches course management, how to practice, and how to continuously do this each and every day, without skipping steps. He values integrity; doing the right thing even when no one is looking. He teaches us to work hard and that what we put in is what we are going to get out.”
Paul echoed the organization part before adding his own thoughts.
“Out of all the coaches I’ve met, coach Robertson is definitely most organized. He just knows what he’s doing. He’s also been a football coach and coach in general for many years, so I feel he knows how to train people. Sometimes you have the knowledge, but you can’t teach it. But he can. He has a son and a daughter who both teach golf at NCAA D1 schools. I think teaching them was a big factor and he’s imparting that knowledge to us. He knows when to apply pressure, to try and teach us how to handle it, but he’s also good at getting us back on track, back into the comfort zone, when we need that.”
But Robertson wasn’t here to recruit Peter, and Paul left a JUCO program that qualified and competed at nationals, to come to NMMI. So how did two kids from Korea, by way of Africa, end up here at ‘Old Post’?
Peter’s answer will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent extended time here at Roswell’s ‘West Point of the West’, whether as a cadet, faculty-staff member or parent.
“I chose NMMI because they have a really good education system,” he said. “When I searched online for the best junior colleges, NMMI was there. I really like the teachers here – many of them have master’s and PhDs. Also, coach Gooch was kind enough to offer me a scholarship to come here and play golf and I am grateful for that opportunity.”
Paul agreed with the quality of an NMMI education before remarking on his concern over credit transfers from one institution to another.
“One of the most important reasons for coming to NMMI was because the credits I earn here will transfer to all schools. Because NMMI is hard, people acknowledge the school and honor the school. It feels like this school puts you up to another level.”
So now you know you why NMMI. It’s about ‘opportunity’ and ‘honor’ – if you’d like to condense the Chois’ statements into one word each.
So the next logical question is why Sterling College?
“I chose Sterling College because it’s a small school and they have a good pre-med program, said Peter. “I want to study chiropractics and they have the classes I need to get into that field.”
“Pretty much the same reasons as my brother,” agreed Paul. “I would also add that I think the small class sizes will make it easier to learn. Both of us got good offers from the school. I want to pursue my dream as a top-class golf professional, but at the same time, I want to pursue my chiropractic degree.”
“We try to bring in good players, that will play good for us and get us national rankings,” said coach Robertson. “Then hopefully, they will help themselves and help their families so they don’t have to pay for further education in the final two years when they leave NMMI. That’s what our program is all about. I admire the way Peter and Paul approach both academics and golf, with great effort and a great mindset. I’m so proud of them and I know that they’re going to do a good job at Sterling College.”