Paulsons take their sibling act to Gophers’ golf teams

by David McCoy

Don’t head to the Paulson family reunion without your golf clubs.

In a family whose members’ DNA could possibly be more accurately dubbed “GOLF,” any invitation to a family gathering is likely to be on the links.

Ryan Paulson is a junior on Minnesota’s men’s golf team. Kristine Paulson is the assistant coach on Minnesota’s women’s golf team.

Their father, Tom Paulson, played college golf at the University of St. Thomas.

And because their dad indoctrinated his children into the world of golf at the tender age of 5, the sport has been a family affair for the Paulsons ever since.

“Now that we’ve gotten older, basically all of our family trips have been golfing,” Kristine Paulson said. “Everywhere we’ve gone on a trip, we usually have taken our golf clubs.”

Even mom has gotten involved. While the other three Paulsons have played golf their whole lives, Ginny Paulson got involved a little later in life, her daughter said.

Though golf is intrinsically a family matter for the Paulsons, both children have experienced a certain level of success individually.

A 2002 graduate of the University of St. Thomas, Kristine Paulson was a three-time all-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection while playing for the Tommies.

She also competed in the Division III national championships twice and was the 1999 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion.

Ryan Paulson, on the other hand, was Minnesota’s Class A state champ in 1998 and 1999 and had two top-10 tournament finishes last year. He was also an alternate for the U.S. Amateur Team the last two summers.

So, which one is better?

“He kicks my butt,” Kristine Paulson said. “I was probably 13 or 14 when he could consistently beat me.”

A few years later, while Ryan Paulson was a redshirt sophomore with the Gophers’ men’s team, Kristine Paulson was hired as the assistant coach for the women’s team.

And even though their demanding schedules during golf season now prevent them from getting out on the course much against each other, they make a point of playing during their down time.

The Paulsons take a weeklong family trip every winter break to Naples, Fla., where they’ve played on “tons” of different courses.

Kristine Paulson also accompanied Ryan Paulson two summers ago to the U.S. Amateurs in Florida, where she caddied for him.

But they weren’t always such a good team. Along with a little egging on from dad, Kristine Paulson said, they were quite competitive growing up.

Ryan Paulson said that the competition started to fade once he took the lead.

“I think when we were around the same skill level, we definitely were competitive,” Ryan Paulson said. “And then, once I kind of got a little bit better, we kind of stopped.”

While Ryan Paulson is easily the quieter and more reserved of the two, Kristine Paulson is the exact opposite – outgoing and talkative.

Put them together, and they’re quite the pair.

In fact, in one mixed amateur tournament at Elk River Country Club in 2002, Ryan Paulson and Kristine Paulson paired up as a team.

But it didn’t go so well.

“I played like crap the whole time,” Kristine Paulson said. “I couldn’t do anything. I was awful.

“We had fun, but he switched partners the next year.”

Ryan Paulson said, “It was kind of a disaster. But it was more of a fun thing.”

But as long as they’re together, life is a short putt on the green for the Paulson siblings.