A vital piece of head coach Brad McMakin’s success in turning the Arkansas men’s golf team into a national contender year-in and year-out, Barrett Lais is in his eighth season as an assistant coach at his alma mater in 2017-18.
One of the top up-and-coming young coaches in college golf, Lais returned to Arkansas in 2010 following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Denver. During his seven years back at Arkansas, the Razorbacks have won 19 team titles, advanced to seven NCAA Regionals and four NCAA Championships.
Along with his on-course responsibilities, Lais handles travel, recruiting and player development. Arkansas has had 13 All-SEC selections and 12 All-Americans during Lais’ seven years, and at least one All-American every year he has been with the program.
Lais and McMakin went the rookie route in 2016-17, bringing in the No. 1 freshman class in the country and quickly seeing the dividends on the course. The young squad captured two individual tournament titles and freshman Mason Overstreet went on a run for the ages during postseason play.
Overstreet became the first rookie in Razorback history to finish even par at the SEC Championship and he followed that up with a sixth place finish at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional to qualify as an individual for the National Championship.
The Kingfisher, Oklahoma, native never backed down on the national stage, posting rounds of 70-68-72-71 – 281 (-7) to finish as national runner-up and record the best Razorback finish in 54 years. He became the second player in school history to finish inside the top five at the National Championship, joining R.H. Sikes who won the program’s only National Title in 1963.
Two of the most recent standouts at Arkansas were Sebastian Cappelen and Taylor Moore. Both players earned multiple All-American honors and started their pro careers just weeks after competing in the NCAA Championship. Cappelen won his first professional event at the 2014 Air Capital Classic on the Web.com Tour, while Moore won his fifth start on PGA Tour Canada at the 2016 Staal Foundation Open and earned exemption to make his debut on the PGA Tour the following week at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open.
Lais’ time as a student-athlete at Arkansas has not only paid dividends on the course, but also in the classroom. Arkansas has had no less than four players on the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll during each of the last seven years, while also placing 14 guys on the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll during that span.
“I am really excited to bring Barrett back as an assistant coach,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said upon Lais’ hire in 2010. “Barrett is young and ambitious and brings a knowledge of the Razorback program. He gained a lot of experience in his time at Denver, experience that will help him succeed here. Barrett did an exceptional job recruiting at Denver and signed the No. 1 players from Norway and from Arizona.”
From 2008-10, Lais helped guide the Denver program to 11 top-five tournament finishes as well as an NCAA Regional appearance in 2009. He coached senior Espen Kofstad to the NCAA Championships as an individual, while Kofstad’s play also earned him PING All-Region honorable mention honors. Kofstad and Daniel Wax each earned Summit League All-Conference recognition and All-Region honors in 2009.
Along with his prowess as a recruiter, Lais also has a bachelor’s degree as a certified golfing machine authorized instructor and has instructed players on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and European Tour.
As a player for the Razorbacks, Lais participated in 15 tournaments over four years and 45 rounds, producing a 75.6 stroke average. He placed 11th at the Gopher Invitational in 2007 and had a career-low round of 68 at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, also in 2007. As a senior in 2007-08 he played in a career-high six tournaments and 18 rounds with a 75.0 stroke average. He was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll four times and was named to several University of Arkansas academic award lists. In addition to the time spent on the course and in the classroom, Lais also participated in the First Tee program and served as a golf camp instructor.
Lais is married to Jessica (LaMar), who also graduated from Arkansas. The couple are parents to Sawyer, Evelyn and the late Hudson LaMar.