Weatherford College has turned to former professional golfer Jesse Speirs to revive the school’s golf program when it returns to competition in the 2021-22 academic year.
Speirs, 33, is no stranger to the area, having played for TCU from 2005 to 2007 before transferring to Ole Miss.
Speirs said the opportunity to bring back the WC golf program was introduced to him by WC President Tod Allen Farmer and Athletic Director Bob McKinley.
Following the reinstatement of men’s golf next year, the school also plans to add women’s golf in 2023-24, along with three other new sports programs over the next four years.
The program at WC once competed on a national level, and Speirs is excited about getting them back to that status as quickly as possible.
“Obviously, my goal is to build a competitive team from the start. Coaching is new to me, but I will learn as quickly as possible and lead WC golf back to the national stage,” he said.
While playing at TCU, Speirs helped the Horned Frogs advance to the NCAA Central Regional Tournament in 2006-07 and was the No. 1 golfer on the squad. He was also named All-Mountain West Conference.
After 2007, Speirs transferred to the University of Mississippi, where he was also the team’s No. 1 player in 2008 and led the Rebels to an NCAA regional berth that same year. He posted three top-five tourney finishes and six top-10s. He is also a member of the school’s Wall of Fame.
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do. TCU, from the time I was 13 years old, was the school I wanted to play for,” Speirs said of his transfer. “I was fortunate to have that opportunity. I learned a lot from both schools and have made lifelong friendships from each. I wouldn’t change anything.”
Speirs then spent a decade playing professionally with many highlights, including:
• Shooting 63 in the first round of the Waterloo Open in 2010.
• Advancing to the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in 2011.
• Winning the Greater Bangor (Maine) Open championship in 2011.
• Competing on the Challenge Tour in 2011.
• Advancing to the second round of the PGA Qualifying School in 2012.
• Tying for second in the Maine Open in 2012.
• Competing on the PGA Tour Canada from 2012-15.
• Competing as a member of the Web.com Tour from 2016-18 and ranking third in driving distance in 2017.
• Competing on the PGA China Tour from 2018-20.
“It was definitely an experience. The traveling was a beating,” Speirs said of touring and playing in China. “The golf courses over there are some of the most challenging courses I have ever played. I did enjoy the people over there. They have an extremely strong work ethic and an amazing culture.
“One of the most memorable things was being able to visit the Great Wall. But playing on the Web.com Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour) was the most rewarding. Having worked my entire golfing career to get on the PGA Tour and then being one step away was extremely exciting and frustrating. I came close to advancing and had plenty of chances. Knowing that you are one or two good weeks away from a lifelong goal is a feeling that is hard to replace.”
Speirs grew up in Bangor, Maine, and started playing golf when he was 10 years old. He is a three-time Maine State Junior Champion (2002-04), the Northeast Junior Champion in 2001 and at age 14 was the second youngest player ever to qualify for the Maine State Amateur Championship in 2001. He was also named New England Junior Player of the Year, made it to the round of 16 in the U.S. Junior Championship, ranked 64th in the Junior World Rankings and was in the Amateur Top 100 World Rankings.
But he said he always had an affinity for Texas and its golf talent.
“I have always loved Texas, especially the DFW area. There are so many great golf courses here and, most importantly, a lot of talented young golfers,” he said.
And now that he’s a coach, something he did not envision as recently as a couple of years ago, he hopes to tap into some of that young talent in building the program at WC.
“This was perfect timing for me to begin another route while staying in the game as a coach. And I could not be more excited about this opportunity,” he said, adding that he believes his experience as a professional will help him be a better coach.
“Playing golf and coaching are different. But in my experience as a player I have always worked better with coaches who have played at high levels themselves,” he said. “I think it is very important to be able to understand what players deal with on a daily basis from practicing, qualifying and traveling for tournaments.”
Speirs comes from a competitive and athletic family.
“My dad was a competitive skier. He coached me and my siblings in skiing, basketball and golf growing up. From an early age he could tell I had something special in golf and pushed me and supported me my entire career,” he said.
Speirs is the youngest of five, each of which has a distinguished career. His two oldest brothers are in the Secret Service, one is on the Presidential Protection Division and the other is now a supervisor and is a former team leader on the Counter Assault team. Another brother is a supervisor in Border Patrol, and his sister is a nurse.
Jesse and his wife, Sabrina, are expecting their first child in a matter of weeks.