Clemson University

Clemson almost didn’t offer Bryson Nimmer. He’s leading Tigers into NCAA Championship

Clemson senior Bryson Nimmer was always around the game of golf growing up.

His father, Tony Nimmer, played at Clemson in the 1980s. And from a young age it was apparent that Bryson was likely going to play in college as well.

But it wasn’t until Bryson started focusing less on golf and more on the weight room that he took his game to another level.

“He was about 5-foot-8 and weighed about 200 pounds,” Clemson golf coach Larry Penley said of Nimmer’s size as a high school sophomore. “You look at him today and he is a well-fit athlete. When he was 15 or 16 years old, not so much. And he made a commitment.”

Nimmer went from spending four or five hours a day working on golf to a couple of hours a day working on his game and a couple of hours a day working in the weight room.

As a result, he went from 205 pounds to 160 and transformed his body.

“My main focus was on golf only up until that point, and then it kind of clicked in my head, like alright, the gym’s a big deal. That’s a big way that I can get better at the golf side of things,” Nimmer said. “I had to cut back on how much I was eating. I went to eating a lot of chicken, a lot of vegetables. I probably ate that like two meals a day and drink a protein shake.”

The results started showing up almost immediately on the course. Nimmer added distance on his drive, and he felt better getting around the course.

His scoring improved as well, and schools started to take notice. Nimmer was planning on playing golf at Wofford before he transformed his body and his game improved. Then other schools started getting involved, including his dream school Clemson.

“They invited me up for a visit. I remember it was kind of late in my junior year I would say,” Nimmer said. “I came up, visited, kind of toured around. We left and they called me on the phone and offered me. It was cool. This is my dream school. This is where I wanted to go.”

Penley was always aware of Nimmer as he was teammates with Tony in college, but it wasn’t until Nimmer changed his body and became really committed to getting better that Penley was ready to offer him a spot at Clemson.

Penley still remembers when Nimmer decided that he was going to change his body, get his game better and become a great player who could possibly play on the PGA Tour one day.

“That was his goal, and that’s exactly what he wanted to do, and he’s woken up every day since then with those goals in mind. He’s done a really good job of that,” Penley said.

Nimmer has continued to improve his game since arriving at Clemson and is now one of the top golfers in the country heading into the NCAA Championship on Friday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The senior has won four tournaments this year, the most in a season in Clemson history, and he enters the NCAA Championship as one of the favorites.

“I wouldn’t trade him for anybody in the field,” Penley said. “His whole career has been incredible. His ball striking has evolved. His body has evolved. And once he figured out putting, which he did do this year. He made putting one of his strengths, it was just a matter of time before he won. And then once he got a taste of winning, that’s how you win four times.”

Nimmer is hoping to end his college career on a high note before turning pro.

He has already played in one PGA Tour event, finishing 47th in the Puerto Rico Open, and he believes that experience will help him in the NCAA Championship.

Clemson finished third in the Austin Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship. The Tigers are the No. 13 seed in the tournament.

“I think we’re in a good spot. I think we played really well last week as a team. The guys played awesome, which was really good and gives us some confidence heading into (this) week. We’re just gonna try to take it the same as we did last week,” Nimmer said. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s kind of bittersweet senior year, but just wanted to try to give it everything I had and go out on a good note.”