Over his three years at Emory University, success has been the standard for senior golfer Jackson Klutznick, who was ranked the No. 1 Division III (DIII) men’s golfer in the country for three months this season.

Hailing from Denver, Klutznick’s golf game started developing at a young age, as he first started playing when he was 18 months old. Growing up, tennis was his main sport, but in high school, Klutznick decided to put the racket away to focus on golf.

Klutznick was named to First Team All-State teams as a junior at Kent Denver High School, and in his senior year, he captured the Class 3A state championship in Colorado. Klutznick originally chose to go to school at the University of Washington where he was not on the golf team. However, after just one year, he came to Emory and joined the golf team.

Although Klutznick said he had a chip on his shoulder about DIII athletics after joining Emory’s golf team, he did not make the starting lineup during his first semester. The talent of Emory’s golf team when he joined motivated him to improve his game.  

Senior golfer Jackson Klutznick studies a course during a tournament (Courtsey of Jackson Klutznick)

“I really tried to put in the hours and learn from all the seniors on the team, all the better players on the team, pick apart their games, what made them good,” Klutznick said.

Klutznick also had a sense of competitiveness that drove him to improve his game. Senior golfer Logan Lowery said Klutznick’s ambition has rubbed off on his teammates. 

“That competitiveness that he has translates over to a lot of other people on the team who see him do well,” Lowery said. “I think one of the best things about playing with him has been just that competitiveness going back and forth, not just with me, but everybody on the team in general.”

This sense of competitiveness is indicative that Klutznick’s mental approach to golf is quite robust. However, Emory Men’s Golf Head Coach John Sjoberg said that he had to work to improve this aspect of his game. 

“He’s very physically gifted from a golf standpoint … but he’s really made some great progress on the mental side,” Sjoberg said. “Just matured and taken on the responsibility that comes with being our best player.”

Klutznick’s long game, or his ability to hit the ball further than his opponents, has been one of his best attributes. Senior golfer Michael Rosenbloom also said that he has a “ridiculous” short game, a term that refers to wedging and putting, which has developed over his Emory career.

“He’s just so much more complete,” Rosenbloom said. “I feel like he had so much potential when he first came. He just developed into a very complete, talented golfer.”

Klutznick highlighted his mental preparation and approach as the reason he has improved over the past three years.

“The biggest change has been with how I play golf, how I attack, how I strategize, how I defend if things are going badly,” Klutznick said. “If I do the strategy part correctly, the the execution should be the easiest part, whereas before, I would almost rely on my technical skill to make up for bad strategy.” 

Today, Klutznick is currently ranked No. 1 in the country individually for DIII golf and has helped the team achieve a No. 2 rank in the country. Now, the team will be looking to take home a national title. With one invitational competition left in April, the team aims to peak on their way to the NCAA DIII Men’s Golf Championships from May 14-17 in Boulder City, Nev.

Klutznick’s Emory career has been marked by amazing individual performances. Sjoberg highlighted the time when he shot 61 strokes in the final round at the Gate City Invitational last fall, which set a new program record. Klutznick finished 11 strokes better than the next closest golfer to bring home the individual title for the event.

Nevertheless, Klutznick’s legacy will not just be based on his individual performances. Lowery highlighted a ski trip with Klutznick as a testament to his attentiveness as a teammate.

“I’ve never been skiing before, but he and his dad had a pretty challenging task, but they did a really good job of teaching me how to ski and now I’m pretty much hooked on skiing,” Lowery said. “My favorite memory with him is him introducing me to skiing, and now it’s quickly turned into one of my favorite hobbies.

Klutznick’s impact both on and off the course make him an essential part of Emory’s men’s golf program. As a finance and real estate major in Emory’s Goizueta Business School, he is currently working on getting his financial planner certification and is exploring routes in both professional golf and finance after college.

Lowery said that Klutznick’s work for his major is more proof of his growth as a person during his time at Emory.

“I’ve known him for three years and he’s grown significantly,” Lowery said. “Whether that’s pursuing finance, or something else, so [his] becoming a more holistic person has been pretty cool to see.”

Klutznick is still deciding on if he wants to come back for another year in 2024-2025, so as Klutznick approaches what could be his final weeks with Emory men’s golf, he is focused on making sure younger players can reach similar heights in the future. 

“Now that I’m old, I’m 23, a lot of it’s about making sure all the kids that are coming in that are 18 or 19 can have some of that mentorship that I was able to have that moved me in the right direction,” Klutznick said.

Klutznick has matured and is now trying to pass on his knowledge and approach to the next generation of Emory’s golf team.

“I attribute most of my success to Emory and learning and everything throughout my three years,” Klutznick said. 

Update (4/20/2024 at 9:57 p.m.): This article has been updated to state that Jackson Klutznick was named the No. 1 Division III men’s golfer in the country for three months, reflecting the fact that he dropped to No. 2 on April 17 after a version of this article that stated he was currently ranked No. 1 was finalized for publication on the evening of April 16.

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