Ever since senior Corey Knabe learned to walk, he’s been playing golf. At age two he would go to the Teetering Rocks Golf Course driving range with his set of plastic golf clubs to play with his dad and older brother. As time went on, he started to take lessons, play in more tournaments and play for fun with his friends.
Once he got to high school, Knabe joined East’s golf team. By junior year, he had made varsity. At that same time, Corey’s brother and former Lancer Conner Knabe had started playing golf for K-State as a freshman.
On August 8, Corey committed to play golf next year at University of Central Missouri (UCM). After sending letters to Pittsburg State University, Southeast Illinois University, Missouri State and Central Missouri, he chose UCM.
“I’ve been talking to the coach since the spring, and I took a visit down there in the summer and their facilities are really nice,” Corey said. “All the programs down there are great, and they just have an overall great system down there.”
Another factor that went into Knabe’s choice to commit to Central Missouri was his family. Not only is Conner currently playing for K-State, but their dad, Billy Knabe, played golf at Central Missouri from 1985-89.
“College golf kind of runs in the family,” Knabe said. “I play with my dad and brother all the time. They’ve really influenced me to play in college.”
Both his brother and his dad have watched Corey develop his game over time. Billy said he recognized that Corey had legitimate talent when he was in middle school.
“I haven’t had to motivate him much at all,” Billy said. “I’ve been playing with him his whole life, but he’s always been able to motivate himself so he can get to the next level.”
East golf coach Ermanno Ritschl says he saw talent in Corey early on, but noticed Corey’s game improve throughout high school.
“I could tell he was good, but it wasn’t until this past year when I realized he could realistically play at the college level,” Ritschl said. “He improved his swing lots, and has been working hard day in and day out to be successful.”
From playing weekly with his friends at Meadowbrook Country Club to playing in elite tournaments like the PGA Junior Series and the Missouri Junior Ametuer Tournament, Corey has found that the amount of time he spends playing golf weekly contributes to his success the most.
“I’ve been playing all my life, and I get better every time I play,” Corey said. “There’s a lot mentally and physically that goes into being good, but just the overall amount of time I put in has made me as good as I am today.”
With a state victory last season, Knabe is looking forward to the spring golf season, the last of his high school career. Although he’s excited for the season, he can’t wait to play college golf.
“Next year will be way more laid back, It won’t be as stressful dealing with all the colleges now that I have one picked out,” Knabe said. “Our Eeast team is looking very good, then I’m looking forward to the college season, it’ll be fun being able to play at the next level.”