Nick Saban doesn’t have an ‘off-switch’ … for golf?

Nick Saban’s competitive obsession lies at the heart of every college football fan.

His role as Alabama football head coach and lord of college football national titles has made him one of the sports world’s most ubiquitous figures. He is cranky. He is obsessive. And he lives every moment of his life in pursuit of absolute perfection. Perfection that, U.S. Amateur winner Nick Dunlap says, even extends to the world of golf.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Dunlap joined hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz to talk all things golf and life. And Dunlap, a member of the Crimson Tide himself, had a surprising amount to say about Saban.

“So he spends a lot of time at our facility and I’ve actually gotten to know him a little bit over the last few months,” Dunlap said.

“What’s cool about him is he’s 71 or 72, however old he is, but he doesn’t just go to play golf and have fun,” he said. “He has that competitive edge. He’s always trying to get better.”

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Over the months, Dunlap and Saban have developed a bit of a relationship. He was one of Dunlap’s first calls after his thrilling victory at Cherry Hills a few weeks back, and has been a regular figure inside the Alabama Golf team room over the years.

The reason for that relationship, Dunlap says, is that Saban is obsessed with golf. And though he’s not quite the player that Dunlap is, Saban has all the commitment to greatness in golf that he does in football.

“Before I left for the Am,” Dunlap said. “[Saban] sat for 2.5 hours just picking my brain on what he can get better at.

“It’s eye-opening to me. He just doesn’t have that off-switch.”

As for Saban’s post-U.S. Amateur message to Dunlap? Well, Saban delivered it in the way only he could.

“This is just the beginning.”

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at