John Brown University’s men’s golf team has been doing a lot of preparation for the spring season—even if it means staying indoors.
“Since the weather’s been so cold, we’ve been inside,” said junior Max Gordon. “We’ve been hitting nets, working out a lot—lots of swimming in the pool, and a lot of cardio.”
The men’s golf team currently is one of the smallest athletic programs at JBU, with eight men participating in the program.
The team’s rigorous push to stay in shape came about at the end of the 2014 spring season and hasn’t let up ever since.
“Last spring, when we went to conference (tournament), I realized our conditioning wasn’t what it needed to be,” said Coach Doug Turner. “So we spent a lot of time in the last two and a half weeks getting back into shape. We ended the season in pretty good shape last year. So we’ve been doing a little bit of workout. You know, with the ice and the snow, it’s been really hard to golf, so we have nets that we hit into indoors. We have workouts that we do a couple of days a week, including swimming.”
But conditioning is not the only aspect of their training. According to freshman Thatcher Radler, he and his teammates practice golf on a real course whenever possible.
“We play when it’s warm,” said Radler. “Obviously, February is always up and down. We play at the city course, and we’ve played at Shadow Valley. I played a few weeks ago when it was warm with the guys.”
All of this is in preparation for the various tournaments that will be held throughout the spring semester. The first of such tournaments is the NAIA Contender, an all-day tournament that will be held on March 9-10 in Dallas, TX.
“That’s the one at TPC Four Seasons,” said Gordon. “That’s where the Byron-Nelson on the PGA Tour is played. It’s probably going to be one of the toughest courses that we’re going to play, but it’s a pretty good field there. We should be able to come up with a good score.”
Not only is the NAIA Contender a difficult tournament in terms of course difficulty, it also bears difficulty in terms of opponents.
“There are about 14 of the top 20 programs in the country that are going to be there,” said Coach Turner. “Obviously the big schools in our conference are Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Texas Wesleyan and Wayland. Those are our top four, and they’re also in the top 20 in the country…. A really good showing for us would be to beat two or three of the schools that we can compete with. Hopefully we can beat Oklahoma Wesleyan and Southwestern. The idea is that if we can be competitive enough and play to our advantage, not only will we not come in last, but maybe we’ll get in the top six or seven. That’d be a win for us.”
“There’s a really good course we’re playing on, one of the top courses down there,” said Radler. “I think we’ve got a decent chance. I don’t know how we’ll come out of the shootout, but we have some decent guys who are swinging well. Hopefully it’s positive.”