Courtesy Jane Schafer
Matthew Schafer carries golf in his blood.
Born and raised in Long Beach, Schafer is continuing the local Schafer golf legacy. The Wilson High School junior is currently the leading scorer for the varsity boys golf team with an average score of 71.5 and has a steady focus as he moves forward. According to his mother, Jane Schafer, this has been years in the making.
“He has been hanging around golf courses and competition since he was five,” she said. “He was hanging out with his brother and watching golf.”
The young golfer credits his grandfather as the reason he and his older brother, Tyler Schafer, started golfing in the first place.
“My grandpa played golf and taught golf and that’s why my brother started, so I followed in his footsteps,” Matthew said.
Tyler, who is now golfing for Cal State University Long Beach has been an inspiration and support system for his younger brother.
“It has always helped me get better, because I always wanted to be better and compete with him. We go play for fun and I always try to beat him,” Matthew said. “He is always there to support me and help me if I’m not doing the best.”
According to their mother, golf brought them together. “It became a passion for both of them and something that they bond together [over.]”
“They have a friendly competition,” Jane said. “To see what his brother has accomplished is a little pressure for him I’m sure, but it’s also another goal that he’s going to hit. […] His brother is a big influence.”
For the high-schooler, it was natural to pick up a golf club and start competing.
“I started in a little league and it was just so much fun,” Matthew said, “I started playing outside tournaments and just had fun with it and loved competing.”
His love and dedication to golf is evident in his schedule. He spends his free time away from school, where he maintains good grades, perfecting his skills. In fact, according to Jane, he met most of his close friends through golf.
“Every spare time that he has is basically on the golf course, playing and competing,” Jane stated.
His love for competition has paid off. He is the 2019-2020 Wilson’s Wonderful World of Golf Champion, defeating Phillip Vos 37-38. His brother held the same title in 2017-2018.
“When I play golf, nothing else crosses my mind besides playing and hitting the shots that I want,” Matthew said of his focus during competition.
Jane has been active in supporting her youngest son to continue the family legacy and considers herself his cheerleader.
“When he started playing, he had the potential and enjoyed, therefore I just supported him,” she said. “I dropped him off and he went out and played. I enrolled him in tournaments.”
She continued, “He had a few top 10’s and top 5’s and I just never stopped supporting that. Until he tells me ‘I don’t like golf anymore and I quit, I’ll continue to let him do that.’”
So far, Matthew has no plans of stopping.
“Hopefully this year I can win a few tournaments, play CIF state and make it to the college level and play college golf,” he said.
Like Tyler, he’d like to go to Cal State Long Beach.
One of his biggest goals this year is to win the High School Moore League, a Southern California high school sports league made up of seven public high schools in the Long Beach Unified School District plus Compton High School.
His ultimate goal is to go professional.
Kurt Holmes, Wilson High School varsity golf coach, thinks Matthew has a bright future.
“I’ve worked with him since he was a freshman, I’ve known him for three years and he’s a wonderful kid, a hard worker.” Holmes continued, “Golf is a rough game, it’s what you want to make of it and he’s very determined so I think he’ll be okay.”
Determination is a driving force for Matthew and it is something he seeks in his golf idols.
“I really like Tiger Woods because when he went through a hard time he never gave up and now he’s back in the winner’s circle,” Matthew said.
This determination is what will keep Matthew going as he prepares to get recruited in the coming years.
For Matthew, the future is just one swing away.