by GREG SIERING
Joe Weiler started golfing at the Bloomington Country Club as a way to spend time with his friends. But by the time he hit seventh grade and was consistently beating his father at the game, he realized he was getting pretty good.
Now a 21-year-old junior on the Purdue University golf team, Weiler says it was the social aspect of golf that helped him stay the course in those early years. “You can go out there for four hours at a time, and you’re always hanging out with your friends.” He also remembers heading back out after dinner to golf with his father, Don, in what he recalls as “those perfect Bloomington summer evenings.”
A four-year member of the Bloomington High School South varsity golf team and a three-time recipient of The Herald-Times Golf Player of the Year award, Weiler admits that his first two years on the Purdue team weren’t stellar, in part because he found balancing schoolwork and golf difficult. “I got into the mindset that golf was a chore,” he says, noting how that attitude negatively affected both his game and studies. With the help of his coach and his parents, Weiler turned things around. “I had to change my mindset and remember that playing golf is a gift and a blessing,” he says. “And it’s a ton of fun.”
That attitude paid off in June 2019 when he won the Indiana Amateur Championship, becoming the first Bloomingtonian to win the title in the tournament’s 119-year history. “That was a breakthrough win, to instill that confidence in me, and that jump- started a lot of my success,” Weiler says. The momentum helped him tie for fifth in the Indiana Open, and led to a turnaround in his college play. “I came into my junior year with a lot more confidence,” he says. “I ended up having a really good fall.” That included leading the Purdue team with a 71.93 scoring average and four top-20 finishes.
With a year of college remaining, Weiler recognizes a professional golf career is a tough dream, but one he wants to go after while still pursuing his industrial engineering degree. “I’m going to work as hard as I can at it now, and I’m going to work as hard as I can in the classroom,” he says. “I want to keep both doors open.”