Iowa golf’s Mac McClear ready for fall 2021-22 season

As the reigning medalist at the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Golf Championships, McClear is spending his summer training and competing on the course.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Mac McClear drives the ball during the men’s golf Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at Finkbine Golf Course.

Ethan Brander, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s golf rising junior Mac McClear is coming off his best collegiate season yet in 2020-21, when he won two solo tournaments — the Spartan Collegiate and the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Golf Championships.

At the Big Ten Championships, McClear broke the University of Illinois streak of individual winners. For the team title, the Hawkeyes took second to the Fighting Illini by one stroke.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” McClear said. “We did lose by one, which is disappointing, but it showed us that we can compete with some of the best teams in the nation… It was a great experience. Kinda fun, a lot of good experience I got from that.”

The tournament was held at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana. Crooked Stick has held multiple PGA events, including the 1991 PGA Championship.

“It’s always really fun,” McClear said about Crooked Stick. “I personally love difficult golf courses, so whenever I get out on a course that’s held a major, it brings out that extra, extra stuff in me.”

In the summer offseason, McClear is playing in multiple solo tournaments in addition to his normal training. Staying local to his hometown, McClear will play in the Illinois State Amateur at the Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Illinois. He will be participating in the Western Amateur July 26-30 at the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois.

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McClear has shot multiple impressive rounds in his summer training so far. At the Joliet Amateur on June 5, McClear shot a first round score of 11-under-par 61. McClear also shot a 13-under-par 58 at his hometown course in Hillsdale, Illinois, on June 8.

In McClear’s two seasons at the university so far, he has developed into a unanimous All-Big Ten golfer.

In his freshman year, he played in five tournaments, averaging just under 76 strokes per 18 holes. McClear improved dramatically in his sophomore campaign, averaging 71.38 strokes per 18 holes over 21 rounds of golf.

Former Iowa teammate Alex Schaake, who now plays professionally on the Forme Tour, spoke highly of McClear’s development coming off a unique, COVID-19 year.

“I think COVID was kind of good for him,” Schaake said. “He went back home and got to work on his game a lot. I could see it tremendously when I got back, and he was kind of the kid to beat on the team for me.”

McClear only saw spring golf in 2020-21 after the Big Ten postponed all fall sports because of COVID-19. McClear said it was like normal, other than wearing masks and partaking in COVID-19 testing.

“We were able to have a full spring schedule,” McClear said. “We practiced normally, worked out normally.” 

Although he said he has no set goals for the 2021-22 season, McClear is enthusiastic about what the year could bring for him and his team. He will spend the rest of his summer training at home in Illinois, preparing for a professional career after his time as a Hawkeye.