Senior Ujang Zarems has seen success this fall out on the golf course and in the classroom.
“Ujang is a privilege to have on the team, and his story is unique and remarkable,” said head coach Kevin Brunner. “He is a model for other students, yet very humble and is dedicated to the game of golf and to his academic work.”
Ujang first came to the United States from severe poverty in Indonesia in 2014. As a three-year-old, he was digging golf balls out of the swamp to sell and later began making his own golf clubs out of coffee tree branches. He was noticed by a golf manager and was then sponsored and invited to play in the United States by Jagorawi Golf and Country Club.
The process of finding a school to attend wasn’t an easy task. Ujang applied to over 50 schools until he connected with Graceland University Head Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach Kevin Brunner.
Ujang, a sport managment major, has endured hardships along the way — even after arriving at Graceland — with the most difficult being the language barrier. He has diligently worked to remain in good standing in his classes, seeking guidance and help from his coach, teammates and professors. He puts in extra hours every day, meeting one on one with professors to make sure he understands and completes his assignments. Last spring his hard work and studies brought him a 3.6 grade point.
"GRACELAND WAS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR ME BECAUSE I FELT LIKE THE WHOLE SCHOOL WAS TRYING TO HELP ME BE SUCCESSFUL."
“Everyone has been very helpful to me with the language barrier and desiring to help me succeed,” said Ujang.
Not only has he worked to be successful in the classroom, but he has excelled on the golf course. His handicap is a +3, and this fall he won the Missouri Valley Invite, shooting a three under par to card a 69. At the tournament, he had an albatross (2) on the par five 15th hole that plays
540 yards uphill. On his second stroke, he hit the ball in the hole from 280 yards.
Ujang will complete his degree from Graceland University in May 2017. Upon graduation, he wants to pursue a career on the PGA tour as well as teach or work as a golf director.