Wildcat moves from the ice to the green

Docherty watches the ball as it flies through the air. Photo credit: Allisun Coote

Docherty watches the ball as it flies through the air. Photo credit: Allisun Coote

At the age of 13, senior Alistair Docherty moved from Canada to the United States, and the only sport he’d ever played was hockey. Two concussions and two very worried parents later, Docherty was in need of another sport and along came golf.

“My dad was the one who really got me into golf, and the transition from hockey to golf after a couple injuries with hockey was kind of easy,” Docherty said. “The motions are similar, and during the summer my dad would take me out to the driving range and the course to play.”

When it came time to apply to colleges, Docherty had his mind set on Division I schools such as Gonzaga, Oregon State and New Mexico State, but that all changed in the most unlikely way imaginable.

“My mom was at a jewelry party my senior year of high school and ran into (head coach) T.L.’s cousin back home in Washington,” Docherty said. “I had no idea where Chico was. Me and Coach Brown started talking, and I took a trip to visit here and fell in love with the city and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”

So while Docherty and his dad were out talking to schools and sending emails, all it took was his mom to go to a jewelry party to find the right school.

Head coach of the Chico State men’s golf team T.L. Brown says Docherty has come a long way since his first year with the program.

“Early on he was very fiery,” Brown said. “If something didn’t go well for him he would tend to carry that anger and it would put him in the wrong type of mindset.”

Hard work and determination soon killed that habit as Docherty started to get into a groove and over his four years at Chico State became one of the most consistent all-around golfers the school has ever seen.

The Chico State golf team warms up during practice at Butte Creek Country Club. Photo credit: Allisun Coote

According to his head coach, the one trait Docherty has that separates him from the rest is his confidence.

“You can have the greatest swing in the world, but if you don’t have confidence in yourself when the swing fails you, then you’ll never win,” Brown said. “Alistair has always had that confidence. He’s always been able to compete even when he has a bad round.”

That confidence along with an improved short and wedge game has been the key behind his success in becoming the No. 1 ranked Division II golfer in the nation.

The biggest achievement of his young career came when he was selected as the only Division II player to represent the United States in the Arnold Palmer Cup in England.

“It was really exciting and I couldn’t really sleep the night before the selection came out,” Docherty said. “It was on the top of my list of things that I wanted to accomplish this year, and I’m extremely honored and blessed to have this opportunity to travel over to England and represent the U.S.A.”

To think, all these accomplishments came from a young Canadian who grew up playing hockey.

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.