FLORENCE, SC – Adam and Luke Hart, twin brothers from Blythewood, S.C., are seniors on Francis Marion University’s golf team. One of their last options four years ago was to play golf at FMU. Adam and Luke Hart now contend it was the right choice as the two lead Francis Marion into its first year of NCAA Division I competition.
The Hart brothers came to Francis Marion to get college degrees and play golf. They looked at other schools such as the College of Charleston, but decided FMU was their best fit. They didn’t expect the team to do what it did in their freshman season of 2003 – win the NCAA Division II national championship. Although the Hart brothers didn’t play much in 2003, it did spark their enthusiasm to continue the success at FMU. “With no doubt the most memorable moment has been winning the national championship my freshman year. Our team worked harder than anybody,” said Adam. Luke added, “We learned a lot from the seniors that were on the national championship team, and since 2003 we have had to grow into leaders on the team.”
The Patriots have gone through some changes since 2003, and one of those has been moving to provisional Division I status. With the team moving to Division I and being seniors on the team, the Hart brothers have changed immensely since their freshman season. Luke said, “Now we know we have to step up and be leaders on this team.” Adam then admitted, “The biggest difference from my freshman year has to be maturity and physical ability. I have learned to hold my temper and make smart decisions on the course, but I still have some improvements to make during the rest of the season.”
So far this season, the Hart brothers have lived up to their leadership roles. FMU hosted the Raines Development Group Intercollegiate Tournament in late September where Luke tied for seventh (at 6-under-par) and Adam tied for ninth (-3), helping FMU finish second among 13 schools. At the Re/Max-UTC Fall Classic (Oct. 17-18), brothers Luke and Adam again led the Patriots. Luke tied for fifth (-2) and Adam tied for ninth (-1), helping the Patriots finish fourth among 16 schools.
Each time the Hart brothers head out onto the course it’s hard not to notice how close their final scores are. In the first two tournaments they played in this fall, they finished within three stokes of each other. Adam said, “It’s very competitive playing with my brother. We have always battled each other since we started playing.” Luke added, “We help each other by pushing one another, and it helps us to play harder against other individuals.”
After nine rounds of competition this past fall, only 10 strokes separate the two. Adam owns a 71.11 stroke average with five sub-par rounds, while Luke has a 72.22 stroke average with four sub-par rounds.
For their careers, Luke owns a 75.16 stroke average over 73 rounds of competition and Adam has a 76.69 average over 74 rounds.
Being the competitors they are, when asked who would win in a head-to-head competition, Adam said he would win, and Luke said that he would come out on top. Then both admitted it’s who ever is playing better golf at the time.
Golf isn’t the only thing the Hart brothers are doing at FMU. They joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity as sophomores to become more involved in school life. “I’m very glad I joined, and we’ve met a lot of great people. Being able to do things for both the fraternity and golf team has made us more well-rounded students, and gets us involved in a lot more,” said Luke.
After the Hart brothers graduate with their degrees – Adam is a public relations major and Luke is a marketing major – they would still like to keep golf at the top of their list. The brothers stated, “We would like to turn professional in golf and play the Gateway Tour in Myrtle Beach or Jupiter, Fla., and do a few Monday qualifiers for PGA Tour tournaments.”
Mark Gaynor, head golf coach at FMU, said of Adam and Luke, “They are playing great right now. They are maturing as golfers and they both feed off each other. These two set the bar for the rest of the team, and their competitiveness with each other is forcing them to play well. That in return forces the team to compete and play at a high level. As a team, we need to be as successful as we can be, and not sell ourselves short.”
The Patriots concluded their fall schedule with a 29-22-1 record. The Hart brothers and FMU will return to action Feb. 13-14 at the Matlock Collegiate Classic, hosted by Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla.