Prep golf: Cloquet's Karson Patten signs with Minnesota State
Patten tied for sixth place individually in last year's Class AA state tournament and was a member of the 2021 Cloquet state championship team.
CLOQUET — As the golf season ends and the frigid winter weather begins to take hold, Cloquet senior Karson Patten won’t have to stray too far from his home course at Cloquet Country Club to get his practice swings in.
The top-10 individual finisher in last year’s Class AA state tournament recently traded in his four-wheeler to purchase and construct a golf simulator in his basement, allowing him to practice year-round.
Whether it’s on a virtual course or the real thing, Patten never misses an opportunity to try and improve, according to Cloquet head golf coach Aaron Young.
“He is there long before practice (starts) and he’s there when other kids are leaving,” Young said. “He’s there on Saturdays and Sundays. He puts in the time and does the work to put himself in a position to have that chance at playing at a higher level.”
The time spent honing his craft culminated in Patten signing his National Letter of Intent to play collegiately at Division II Minnesota State University in Mankato on Thursday, Nov. 10, as friends and family looked on in support inside the conference room of Cloquet High School.
Patten said he’s excited to continue his playing career with a program that checked all of the boxes on a campus visit this past month.
“I just really loved the campus and I loved the workout stuff they have,” Patten said. “They have their own workout room for athletes around physical trainers, their own workout coach. They just have pretty much everything that I was looking for.”
Patten joins 2021 grad Brayden Tyman and 2022 grad Sam Baker as the third Lumberjack from the 2021 state championship team to play at the next level.
Tyman is in his sophomore season with DIII University of Wisconsin-Superior, while Baker is currently in his first season with DI Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Florida.
Patten attributes the friendly competition with his former teammate as a major influence in reaching his goal of playing college golf.
“It’s helped me immensely. I mean just having Sam Baker (and) just to be able to compete against him every day made me better,” Patten said.
Witnessing the growth and success of the team's golfers and the program as a whole has been a privilege for Young.
“It’s really exciting for the program. And these kids have put in a lot of work to reach that potential to be able to go on, and that’s the exciting part (of) being able to be around there and watch them grow and develop,” Young said.
Patten joins fellow Minnesota prep golfer Jack Schrader of Maple Grove as the Mavericks’ two in-state recruits for the class of 2023.
The future teammates recently competed against each other in the ‘Sota Series MEA Fall Classic tournament held at Baker National Golf Course in Medina Oct. 20-22, where they each came away with top-10 finishes.
Patten outshot his future teammate by two strokes to finish three-over par, with a two-round score of 145 (72-73), placing him in a tie for fifth place.
In the months leading up to his return to the golf course for his final season with the ‘Jacks, Patten will serve as a student manager of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton hockey team.