The longest season in college sports
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Staying fine tuned throughout the golf season is not an easy task. Practices start in late August, tournaments begin in the fall and the season makes its way through May when the NCAA championships begin.
I stopped by to have a chat with the men’s golf coach, Nick Green, this past week to check in on what the team is doing to stay tournament ready during their off weeks.
The men’s coach from last year, T. L. Brown, stepped down as coach of the Chico State men’s golf team to take over the same position at Cal Baptist for this year. Green, who was head coach of the women’s team this past year, is now taking over the role of head coach for both the men and the women’s team this year.
Green said the toughest part is giving enough attention to each team every day because it’s very time consuming. While he likes to be a hands-on coach, he has to manage his time a bit differently this year.
At the same time, coach Green explained, “In golf you need to be a self-sufficient player or you’re not going to be successful.” This is a tough concept to grasp because as a child you learn that you should put the team above yourself. It’s hard to grow as an athlete when you are trying to figure out everything on your own.
“I’m very confident that all my players know how to play,” Green said. He thinks each player knows their game well and is able to look back at each round and critique themselves. In fact, he said, many of the players participate in tournaments on their own without their coach by their side.
When asked about preparing for tournaments he said, “Swinging a club is hard man. You got a small club-face and a small golf ball. You’re going to make mistakes, and you have to be mentally and emotionally tough enough to take your medicine and hit the appropriate shot the next time.”
He commented on how the mental and emotional aspect of the game is the most difficult to overcome throughout a season Sticking to the game plan gets tougher and tougher for these players when they’re faced with decisions of strategy after a poorly played hole.
In these times of tough decision making coach Green likes to keep it somewhat simple and trust his players, “You give trust to your players and they usually come through for you. You don’t need to over-coach, sometimes that’s the best coaching.” But does he think giving the trust was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy “Absolutely!” Green said.
This is definitely where the team as a whole has the most room to grow. Course management and strategy, he said, are often the area where most players at this stage have plenty of room for growth.
Right now, the team is in the process of figuring out who gets to play in their next tournament. There are nine players on the roster, but only five will get to travel. Picking the roster each tournament “is by far the worst part of the job,” Green said. The players will head out to different courses in the area where they essentially have playoffs to decide the next tournament’s team.
The men’s golf team is currently in a tie for 22 in the nation according to NCAA’s division two golf rankings, but when it comes to the regional rankings the Wildcats are first in the west.
Catch the men’s golf team playing their next tournament March 20 and 21 at the Cal Baptist Invitational at Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona.
Chris Hendrickson can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.