There was a time when Ethan Carrick was romanced by the idea of playing college golf in a climate where he could tee it up any time he wanted.
"In my early years of high school, my goal was to go to a school down south where the weather is always warm and I could golf all year," the Sun Prairie senior wrote in an email to Wisconsin.Golf. "As the decision started to approach I started realizing that it would be tough to go that far away and I wasn’t getting as much interest from larger schools down there as I wanted. This caused me to start looking at schools more around the Midwest area."
In the end, two of his final three schools were close to home. UW-Eau Claire won out over Winona (Minn.) State and Loyola University-New Orleans.
Carrick, a three-time WIAA Division 1 sectional qualifier who made it to state as a freshman, made his decision known via Twitter. The likely business major said that he liked what he saw of the Eau Claire campus and the Blugolds men's golf program under second-year coach Darrin Skinner.
"I had received a lot of interest from smaller schools around the country (around 2,000-4,000 students), but was really looking for a midsize school that had around 10,000 students, one where there was some large classes and some small, and so I could get on more of a personal level with the teachers since I would be missing a lot of school for golf," Carrick wrote, saying Eau Claire felt like a "very clean campus" with newer buildings. "I was also looking for a school with a lot of campus life and students actually living on or near campus. After visiting the campus I had a different feeling then I did after visiting the other two schools. I liked how it was somewhat of a large campus, and that the buildings were spread apart giving it a nice feel."
Eau Claire and UW-Stout are the only two Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools still sponsoring men's golf. They compete for at-large berths to the NCAA Division III Championship and, this season, Eau Claire comes out of the fall season ranked 25th in the GolfStat Division III rankings.
"My goal is to continue to improve so I can make an immediate impact and progress throughout my four years," Carrick wrote. "They have an incredible indoor facility available during the off-season that will improve my game when the courses are shut down in the winter. They have been to the national championship multiple times in the past so I am hoping to contribute to more appearances there in the future."