A drive for the game: Pepperdine golfer John MacArthur

Dubbed “SoCal’s best” and a “Mac of all trades” by Santa Clarita Valley’s Signal newspaper, John “Johnny” MacArthur is a 5-foot-11-inch, redshirt junior golfer for Pepperdine University, and a business administration major.

He graduated from Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., playing three sports: golf, soccer and football.  In his senior year, he kicked the 43-yard winning field goal of their football championship, one of the highlights of his career (listen to the radio spot here).

Though MacArthur demonstrates exemplary skill in each of his athletic endeavors, his true passion is golf.

“Golf is very different from other sports and different from those that I played in high school because it is much more mental than soccer or football,” MacArthur stated. “The game is much more challenging: harder to grasp, beat and perfect. It is a challenge. Each and every day I learn something new about the game.”

MacArthur has been playing golf since he was about 10 years old. Today, he practices daily. Even during summer break, he wakes up before six to head to the course and typically stays there all day.

His mother, Kelly MacArthur, describes him as “one of the most disciplined students” she has ever known, stating “Johnny is the kind of person that once he sets a goal, he sees it through to the finish.”

Since coming to Pepperdine, MacArthur’s diligence has impressed the people around him: friends, teammates and coaches alike. Freshman teammate Neil Evans says “Johnny is a very hardworking and focused guy. You notice that from the first minute you meet him and it is almost a little intimidating.”

With each year, MacArthur reaches new heights in golf, placing with two top 10 finishes and four top 20 finishes in six competitions.

He humbly attributes his triumphs to his family, noting that the MacArthur family roots are steeped in athleticism. His father, Matt MacArthur, played baseball at Arizona, while his mother, Kelly, was a gymnast at UCLA and a competitor at the U.S. Olympic Trials. His brother is currently playing football for the Air Force Academy, and his sister will soon be a gymnast for UCLA.

While MacArthur’s family has been the dominant foundation of his success, he also credits his Pepperdine coaches, Michael Beard and John Geiberger. “They have pushed me in my game, challenged me, and encouraged me when I failed and pushed me even harder when I succeeded.”

His career average over the past two seasons was a 75.63.  In 2010-2011, MacArthur played in every tournament–13–most notably the Morris Williams Intercollegiate, the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, and the Prestige at PGA West.

His most unforgettable golfing event at Pepperdine was last year at the regional competition, the NCAA Southwest Regional, where he tied for 16th place.

“The top five teams made it to nationals, which was very tough to get into and our team made it in by one stroke,” MacArthur stated. “It was a very tense, fun and memorable event and the team grew close to one another in a special way. It was so cool to make it to the National Championship and compete at that level.”

Though his athletic career is incredible, MacArthur is still considering other options for his post-graduate years. “I am not sure yet if I intend to play golf post school,” he stated. “I would love to and I think it would be an amazing opportunity, but I’m not sure if that is the road my life will take.”

Regardless, Johnny MacArthur is a player to watch. So far, his average for the 2011-2012 season is a 73.26–he and the rest of the golf team are playing at the West Coast Conference Championships April 16-18.