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Taking a swing at being a world champ

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kevin West
  • Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Often described as a “good walk spoiled,” golf is a game of patience. The sport requires a mindset and commitment that accepts small victories and defeats – an outlook that 1st Lt. Kyle Westmoreland, 628th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, not only possesses, but put to the test during the 2016 World Military Championship recently.

An email alerted Westmoreland to the opportunity to try out for the Air Force golf team. After later making the Air Force golf team, Westmoreland was one of six selected to be a part of the Armed Forces team to represent the United States at the World Military Championship in Amsterdam, Netherlands August 28 – September 4, 2016.

 “Grandpa got me into golf when I was little. I played other sports but golf is what I ended up sticking with in college. It’s always a challenge. You have to love trying to get better at something and trying to perfect a skill which is probably imperfectable. I just like the challenge and always trying to get better,” he said.

Years before making the Armed Forces team, Westmoreland was competing at the Air Force Academy. It was there he said his coaches inspired him.

“I went to the academy and had great coaches there. They did a lot to help me focus and showed me what I needed to improve,” he said.

While playing for the Air Force Academy golf team, Westmoreland’s proficiency led him to compete in events such as the 2014 NCAA West Regional Golf Tournament.

Westmoreland said he was fortunate to have a great team and coaches throughout his time at the Academy as well as here locally.

“Kyle, outside of golf, is a tremendous asset to the Air Force,” said George Koury, the head coach of the Air Force Academy golf team. “As a cadet, he worked hard on and off of the course. He was a great ambassador for our program. He works harder than anyone I know. His success is not a surprise.”

With the help from experienced coaches, Westmoreland’s abilities continue to carry him to new heights. In speaking of his recent time on the Armed Forces team, he said it was an experience that helped spread sportsmanship and international relations.

 “Most of what I learned from my experience [in Amsterdam] came from interactions with other countries. I had not really met many service members from other countries. You learn the different situations different militaries are in now, how everyone is related and how everyone works together for these certain causes.”

In addition to learning from others, Westmoreland said lessons learned on the golf course can apply to being a member of the Air Force as well.

“Playing sports correlates very well to the military,” said Westmoreland. “You are being part of a team, which is learning teamwork, learning how to rely on other people and trust other people. That’s a big part of teamwork in the office, on the course, on the field, in the gym, wherever it may be. You learn leadership, you learn by trying to push yourself, trying to get better every day.

Perseverance applies to any sport because nothing is ever going to go exactly how you want it to every time. You learn how to get past defeat and move on. To continue on with what you’re doing. There is always a goal but you can just focus on the little increments to get to that goal. I think that correlates well with work, life, sports, everything. I think there is a lot to be learned from playing sports in general.”

Although Westmoreland’s team tied for 3rd place in Amsterdam, defeat will not keep him from continuing to follow his love for golf.

“I like the mindset you have to have to play golf. It is a long game. It takes days to play and the mindset to let things happen and let things pass to the best of your ability. I think that’s probably what I like most about it. Wherever it takes me, it takes me. I definitely plan on continuing to play whether it is for the military or out of the military. The goal is to be the best I can. I would love to compete at the highest level I can, to get a little bit better each day.”