Author: Sant Kumar
The men’s golf team looks to its talented young core and seasoned veterans to win at least one SCIAC tournament and be one of the best teams in arguably the toughest conference in Division III golf.
The team has lost its first two matches this season but strongly believes it will be one of the better teams in SCIAC.
Members of the team have lofty goals this season. “We’re two matches in. First of all, we have very high expectations for this year with three juniors and two freshmen. We had a low start at our first tournament, but we believe we’ll bounce back,” Miles Cole (junior) said.
The team looks to its improvements from previous years as a sign that they will win at least one tournament this year.
“From what [the] golf team was last year to this year, there has been big improvement. [Our] team is reliant on consistent players who shoot good scores, and all the players have gotten better,” Cole said.
According to Andrew Larkin (junior), the youth of the team is also promising because players will have time to grow and learn together. “We have a strong freshmen class, and there’s a really good sophomore,” Larkin said.
One reason for the team’s development has been the efforts of their coaches.
The coaches work hard to ensure that the players only have to worry about bettering their games. They schedule tournaments, places to practice and any other needs of the team.
The coaches also use technology to find ways to help the players get better. They want the players to see the mistakes they are making on video. They do not simply want to show the players the correct strokes.
“Coach Matt will put us on video and videotape our golf swing and break down what we need to work on and compare it to professionals,” Cole said.
The players build team chemistry by helping one another out.
“We have a lot of good golfers on the team, and we teach other. Being able to teach each other is very helpful,” Cole said.
This year, coaches and players emphasize how important a commitment to golf is. “We put in more focus on individual skills this year. We’re having more individual focused practice with respect [to] specific parts of the games,” Larkin said.
One way the team has improved focus is by participating in mental conditioning.
According to Larkin, members of the team work alongside a mental conditioning specialist. For example, the players are told to focus on one object and not think of anything else. They also work on breathing exercises that help them control their emotions on the golf course.
Though the team is Division III, on a day when the athletes play well, they can compete with Division I schools. In this way, golf differs from most other sports.
Watching the men’s golf team gives spectators a chance to see golf shots that compare with those of the best collegiate players in the country.
“There’s not as much discrepancy between the divisions. Having a better golf day, we can hit as well as some of the best players out there. Coming and watching, you get a sense of unknown. So a spectator can watch a top shot if they watch us on a good day,” Cole said.
The next SCIAC match will be against Sierra Lakes on March 22.
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