The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 24, 2012

Lais 'loves' job as assistant golf coach at Arkansas

It didn’t take long for Barrett Lais to decide he wanted to coach college golf.

“About two days after I graduated from college,” he said with a grin. “I talked to my boss (Arkansas coach Brad McMakin) about I wanted to try to get into coaching. I didn’t want to try to play professional golf.”

Lais, a 2003 graduate of Joplin High School, began his coaching career with a two-year stint as an assistant at the University of Denver. Just two years later, he was back with the Razorbacks’ as McMakin’s assistant.

“That was a goal,” Lais said. “But in coaching, the job usually picks you. You don’t get to pick the job. I was just very fortunate that the opening came up. Coach McMakin said if it came open, he would hire me. It came open a lot sooner than we thought. I love it. I wouldn’t do anything else.”

“It was an awesome experience at Denver. Trying to sell the University of Denver is totally different than trying to sell the University of Arkansas. It was a vital experience in what I’m using today.”

Lais came to Joplin earlier this month and won the Ozark Amateur at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course. With a 10-under-par 132 total after rounds of 65-67, Lais became the 18th multiple winner in the Ozark and its predecessor, the Tri-State.

While his game was sharp in the Ozark, Lais said he hasn’t had much time for golf.

“I’m busy. I honestly don’t play that much golf,” he said. “I try to play as much as I can with the guys in season, but I’ve been on the road recruiting. I think I was home in 10 days in June, and I’m going to be home five days in July.

“This is our busiest time with recruiting, just getting on the road and trying to find future Razorbacks.”

The Razorbacks’ recruiting extends beyond the United States.

“I go all over,” Lais said. “I’ve been over to Europe for the British Boys (Golf Championship), and then went down in Florida in the West Palm area. I’ve been in Texas. We really go all over the country. Wherever the players are, we’ll go.”

And, his recruiting involves just watching, not playing.

“Just evaluating ... see who we like and contact them and see if he’ll take a peek at the University of Arkansas,” Lais said.

As a senior at Joplin High School, Lais tied for second place in the Class 4 state tournament at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, leading the Eagles to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.

He played in 15 tournaments in his four years with the Razorbacks, posting a 75.6 stroke average for 45 rounds. He placed 11th at the Minnesota Gopher Invitational in 2007 and fired a career-low round of 68 at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, also in 2007. He played in a career-high six tournaments as a senior in 2007-08 and averaged 75.0 for 18 rounds.

Lais and his wife Jessica, also an Arkansas graduate, have one son Hudson, who turned 1 on Feb. 13.

What is Lais’ advice to the Missouri golf team as the Tigers prepare to enter the Southeastern Conference?

“Better play good, because it’s a powerhouse,” he said. “We were ranked seventh in the nation going into the SEC Championship, and I think we were the third- or fourth-highest team at the start of the tournament.

“You have Alabama, Auburn, us, Florida, LSU, Georgia, all top-25 teams, and Tennessee. They are all competitive. It’s probably the power conference in college golf.”

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