Tee Time Augusta: PSU Altoona golfer perseveres through the loss of his father

Golf
Two years ago, Luke Hoffnagle had a choice to make.
 
Either come to Penn State Altoona and play golf, or stay close to home. Two years later, he’s one of the top golfers in his conference, a feat accomplished furing the most difficult time of his life.
 
On a quiet Monday morning, with a little wind, it was a perfect day for Luke Hoffnagle to golf
 
“It’s peaceful,” Hoffnagle said.
 
Every shot, every putt, a voice resonates.
 
“I mean if you make a bad shot, you just kind of have to forget about it and move on and he just always taught me it’s all in your head,” Hoffnagle said.
 
He, is Luke’s father Paul
 
“Funniest guy I knew, everyone loved him, he was very special. He made it more fun too, made golf more fun, you know you can go out there more carefree and know that it’s all good,” Hoffnagle said.
 
But everything changed on August 2, 2017.
 
“I woke up and no one was home and I couldn’t find him. I was driving everywhere because he was on a workout plan, and he was running a lot and working a lot. I was the one to find my dad,” Hoffnagle said.
 
Paul Hoffnagle had died in a chainsaw accident.
 
“I mean it was tough,” Hoffnagle said.
 
Only two and half weeks later, Luke arrived at Penn State Altoona for his freshman year, he found success right away, a finalist for conference player of the year, but something was missing.
 
“The first realization is that he’s not here, I mean he would be at mostly all of my golf matches, so not having him walk behind me was pretty surreal,” Hoffnagle said.
 
In his darkest time, Luke found himself with doubts, but he listened to the voice in his head.
 
“Trying to do everything that he told me, just trying to stay positive, just trying to think of things as the glass half-full or just hard work,” Hoffnagle said.
 
Losing a father but gaining a family.
 
“I was thankful for a lot of good friends here and they’ve continued to help me,” Hoffnagle said.
 
“We tell them and their parents that once they’re on campus, and once they commit to our program, they’re part of our family and I don’t think any situation has epitomized that more than Luke’s,” Penn State Altoona Golf Coach Tom Koehle said.
 
Almost two years have passed since Luke’s dad passed away, and on this quiet Monday morning, he finds peace on the golf course. Honoring his dad with every shot.

“You never know when it’s going to be the last or you know just don’t take things for granted…… just don’t,” Hoffnagle said.

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