By Tim Chambers
One bitter pill turned sweet on Tuesday when Isaiah Penley chose to continue this golf career at the next level. The All District performer cast his lot with Alice Lloyd College after just missing the state tournament cut back in October.
It’s quite an accomplishment for Penley who missed the state tournament cut by only three strokes and was the next golfer in line for a berth. He felt like Tuesday’s signing was a blessing in disguise.
“I thought the regional tournament might have been my last chance of ever playing any type of competitive golf,” said Penley. “It was a bitter pill at the time to swallow. So I jumped on the chance when they call and were willing to give me a chance at playing right away. It was almost like a dream come true.”
Penley just didn’t decide all at once that Alice Lloyd was the right fit. He went to a higher source to confirm his choice.
“I’m very excited to sign with Alice Lloyd because it was what I was looking for in a college campus,” said Penley. “I feel like ALC is the perfect place for me after a lot of thought and prayer. It’s a small campus that kind of feels like home. The teachers, deans and all the students live on campus. It’s like a close knit family and the place is not overwhelming. This is where I want to be for the next four years.”
ALC had invited Penley down to play a practice round on their home course. It was that day when both parties knew they had something special.
“They offered me a spot on the team when we completed the practice round,” added Penley. “I feel like I can help their program and I plan on working hard to improve my game this summer and when I arrive on campus.”
Alice Lloyd’s golf coach Robert Hamilton knew he was getting something special with Penley. He touched on the things he saw upon his visit.
“From a golf perspective he’s a pretty good player,” said Hamilton. “We played a practice round at our home course at Stillcrest and he did very well. Obviously he has great character about him and he’s a good student. He’s the type of young man that will fit in nicely with our program. He’ll be a big asset to the ALC community.”
Hamilton stressed the importance of getting players with good character.
“The character is more important than the golfing part,” added Hamilton. “You can have a good golfer and if they don’t have good character then have problems within the team. He’s the type of candidate we were looking for.”
Penley said that playing golf and getting his education was the two things he chose ALC for.
“I want to be a history teacher and one day a golf coach,” said Penley. “ALC will give me the opportunity to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do while growing up.”
His golf coach Matt Bray spoke highly on Penley’s behalf.
“Isaiah possesses a positive attitude and a great disposition,” said Bray. “Also his willingness to put his gloves on and do the extra work that the average player doesn’t do is what separates him. On a personal level, Isaiah is a man of good character, with a strong moral and spiritual code of honor that is rare to find in athletes today. I believe he will be successful in whatever endeavors he puts his mind to.”
Isaiah is the son of Mike and Jill Penley. He thanked his parents for helping him achieve his success. He gave props to his coaches, Bray, Steve Arnold and Austin Atwood for helping him improve his fundamentals and building up his character.
“There have been so many people that have helped me get where I am today,” added Penley. “My parents and high school coaches have played a big role. I want to thank the Red Tail Golf Course and Nathaniel Graybeal for helping me further my game. Most of all I want to thank God for the talent he’s given me to play the game that I enjoy. I’m excited about the opportunity that he has put forth in front of me. There is nothing like playing competitive golf. I plan on making the most of my opportunity.”