With one tournament left in the fall season, the men’s golf team is ready to work toward a successful spring season.
The F&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate in Hopkinsville, Ky., Monday and Tuesday is the team’s final tournament until the spring season begins in February.
“The spring season is the bigger of the two seasons,” senior Jake Erickson said. “That’s when we have our conference tournament.”
However, having tournaments four months away doesn’t mean members won’t hit the links as often as they can.
“Weather permitting, we will be out there as much as possible,” senior Jeff Miller said. “It’s tough having two seasons in Illinois. We might be at a slight disadvantage to teams in warmer climates, but we definitely learn to play in colder weather.”
The team has the option to use the women’s team’s heated shed at Hickory Ridge Course when the temperatures drop and snow covers the course. The shed features several training aids such as putting greens and three hitting stations.
While in the fall they practice as a team, most of the men’s offseason work is individual.
“We don’t get to do a lot as a team besides working out and lifting weights. Mostly we practice a lot on our own,” Miller said. “The NCAA has miles and miles of red tape as far as the amount of time you can spend as a team in-season and out of season. There isn’t very much time allotted to team activities in the offseason.”
The team in past years has focused on free weights, which include bench press, squats and core work. Now, the team’s workouts center more around the golf game and feature a large amount of stretching, Miller said.
Coach Leroy Newton said the team has struggled with consistency for most of the year, and it finished lower than expected in several tournaments. The Salukis started the year with fourth-place finishes at the Sept. 10-11 Wasioto Winds Kick-Off and the Sept.16 Purdue/ Midwest Shootout, but they have finished ninth, sixth and fifth in tournaments since.
“We have to keep the ball in a play a little bit better,” Miller said. “As a team, we need to make more putts. You can’t shoot under par if you are taking extra putts.”