Josh House distinguished himself as a freshman on the SUNY Cobleskill golf team. He finished ninth in the conference championship, becoming the first Cobleskill golfer to receive all conference honors.

He is 29 years old.

After a decade of “working job after job, nothing I really enjoyed,” House decided he needed a college degree to get the kind of job he wanted. The golf team did not envisage his plans.

“I wasn’t a very good student in high school. I didn’t like high school, it just wasn’t for me, so I didn’t think I would do very well in college,” House said, not wanting to overload his schedule.

But he listed golf as an interest in his application, which led to a call from coach Megan Bowman.

House was still skeptical, but Bowman convinced him he could handle the level of commitment and sealed the deal when she told him the team would get free memberships at the Cobleskill Country Club, where they train.

Bowman didn’t learn House’s age – a few months her junior – until they met in person.

“On the phone he was very humble when he spoke to me and when I finally met him in person I was like, Josh, how old are you?” Bowman said, “And then I see him swinging a golf club and I think, holier Damn. I was more amazed at how incredible and mature and polished a golfer he was. He is so good for well beyond his years.”

SUNY Cobleskill’s NCAA compliance office approved House’s participation, and Bowman said she received no setback from other teams or coaches because of him.

“I think people are more attached to the fact that (the team) has a coach and they all seem to be talking about it,” Bowman said.

Physically, House is at a slight disadvantage due to his age, being less flexible than younger players. But mentally, House is unshakable.

“There’s no way to phase it,” Bowman said. “You can tell how polished he is mentally, that he’s older than the fields he’s up against.”

“I know I’m a good player. I got over the hill, I don’t get discouraged easily on the course,” House explained. “I’ve seen kids do just as well, they get a little frustrated. … For me it’s just playing golf. I don’t worry too much about winning or losing.”

Despite some trepidation, House’s teammates quickly hugged him.

“My first reaction was, wow,” said fifth grader Brock Ricketts. “When we started playing golf and practicing, we thought he was just one of us.”

“When I met her, it was pretty comfortable,” House said. “They hugged me and everything, which I appreciate very much.”

Now, Ricketts appreciates having an older teammate for his unique perspective.

“He brings with him a number of wisdoms that we haven’t yet reached. He’s walked the paths of life, outside of school, he’s seen the other real world that we’re going to see when we leave college,” Ricketts said.

And although Bowman was concerned about coaching someone so close-aged, “I put it more strongly than the reality actually was,” she said. “Once I meet Josh, coaching him is no different than the other golfers or basketball players on my team.”

Well there is a difference.

“When we go out and I play with them in practice, he’s the only person who’s beat me every time,” Bowman said.

But dating someone her age has hidden benefits.

“I like it when Josh rides in the van (on his way to tournaments) because I want to play music that I listen to and he’s the only one who says yes coach! Good song,” Bowman said.


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