An Unconventional Route to Becoming A Star: Matthew Leeman


Senior Matthew Leeman calculates his surroundings before his next putt.

Davis Barlow, Contributing Writer 

While known around campus and throughout the USA South as an incredible golfer, Piedmont College senior, Matthew Leeman, doesn’t have a typical golf background. In the case of most high-level golfers, they have played the game since a very young age, mastering a skill that requires talent, patience and presents a very steep learning curve. The learning curve itself is a major deterrent to most who wish to master the game of golf. However, Leeman got into competitive golf after burning out his passion for baseball: the learning curve was just another challenge he was ready to face head on. 


“I actually played baseball for 9 years. I started when I was five doing travel ball, all-star teams, all that kind of stuff,” said Leeman. “But as I started to get older, around 11 or 12, my dad would take me out to the golf course whenever I didn’t have baseball just to see if I liked it. When I turned 13, I joined a travel baseball team and played all summer. I played like, 50 games and I was just burnt out after that. I was done with baseball and I said, ‘Dad, I want to try to pick up golf.'”  


Leeman’s journey was off to a slow start as he entered in junior tournaments under Atlanta Junior Golf and competed in nine-hole tournaments. It was well over a year before he found his first win. He moved on to high school golf, where he made the team, but due to a stacked roster, he did not compete for the varsity team until his junior year. For him, the two years of waiting allowed him to practice and grind to perfect his craft.


“Our team was so good. I went to Cambridge High School, which is a pretty big school with tough competition. I didn’t get any playing time freshman or sophomore year and I had to practice more than most other people at that time,” said Leeman. “Most kids on our team had been playing for their whole lives, so I had to catch up. It was tough but it’s helped me now more than ever because all of them leveled out and I’m still trying to hit my peak.”


Leeman is certainly on the climb to his peak. A flurry of awards and praise found Leeman after this past season where he received an astounding amount of recognition both in conference and nationally. To name a few, Leeman was named GCAA PING All-American, PING All-South Region by the GCAA, ranked No. 23 in Golf Stat national rankings (October 2019) while also leading Piedmont in scoring average with a 71.19.


Even with all of his success, Leeman wants to leave a legacy that goes beyond the sport he played at Piedmont.


“I definitely want to be remembered by how I lead the team; not just on the course, but off the course too. I just hope they see more than just a golfer. Web Simpson always says he wasn’t born to be a golfer, but a good man who lives a good life. I definitely hope to have a good senior golf season, but I’m just hoping I can lead the team by example.”


Leeman and the rest of the Piedmont College men’s golf team begin their season on September 12th at the Transylvania Fall Invite.