Science Teacher and U.S. Open Qualifier Colin Prater Plays Practice Round with Jordan Spieth

PINEHURST, N.C. – Colin Prater's journey to the U.S. Open embodies the quintessential amateur dream. The Colorado native, a four-time Division II All-American, once pursued a professional golf career but found a greater fulfillment in teaching and family life. Prater, 29, is now a high school biology teacher at Cheyenne Mountain High in Colorado Springs, where he also coaches the boys’ and girls’ golf teams. His passion for golf never waned, leading him to this remarkable moment at Pinehurst No. 2.

From Classroom to Championship

Prater secured his spot in the U.S. Open through rigorous qualifying rounds, exemplifying the open nature of the championship. His journey from a typical high school day to playing alongside legends like Jordan Spieth is a testament to the opportunities the U.S. Open provides for amateurs.

During his week at Pinehurst, Prater balanced his awe and focus, practicing with notable players like Will Zalatoris, Wyndham Clark, Mark Hubbard, Jordan Spieth, and Sam Burns. These experiences are not just practice rounds but a dream come true for any golf enthusiast.

Teaching on the Course

Prater's practice round with Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, was particularly memorable. Greller, a former teacher, shared a unique bond with Prater, highlighting the unusual but meaningful transition from classroom to caddie for Spieth. Spieth appreciated Prater's background, joking about the difference in teaching disciplines and acknowledging the impressive feat of balancing teaching with competitive golf.

We had a great time today,” Spieth said, “finding out where he’s from, what he does … pretty cool experience to be here. It’s got to be such a cool feeling, when you’re the coach of these guys and they look up to you and you get some street cred playing in the U.S. Open, so pretty awesome experience.

Balancing Life and Golf

Prater’s ability to balance his teaching career with his golf aspirations is a lesson in priorities. He manages his time efficiently, squeezing in golf practice after school sessions and playing more extensively during the summer. Despite his deep passion for golf, Prater emphasizes the importance of his family and students, keeping golf in perspective as an enriching but secondary part of his life.

You definitely have to have priorities, and golf doesn’t get put on the front burner, right? It gets put on the back burner for sure,” Prater said. “There are way more important things than playing golf.

An Inspiration

Competing in the U.S. Open has brought Prater congratulations from former students, highlighting the impact of his dual role as a teacher and a golfer. His story resonates not only in the golf community but also among those he teaches and coaches, showcasing the importance of following one’s passions while maintaining a balanced life.

As he tees off at Pinehurst, Prater exemplifies the spirit of the U.S. Open, demonstrating that dedication and hard work in any field can lead to extraordinary opportunities. His journey serves as an inspiration to his students and fellow golfers, proving that with perseverance and the right priorities, dreams can indeed become reality.