Women’s golf team begins practice in a new way

The women’s golf team had their spring season taken from them in March, and is now resuming practicing for the first time in six months.

“We’re playing 18 holes two to three times a week and then we practice short game two to three times a week,” Head Coach Alyssa Gaudio said. “We’re just working on things that we noticed on the course and trying to tighten up all aspects of our game right now.”

Despite just beginning practice now, the golf team has the distinct advantage of golf being one of the only sports deemed free to play by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan tournaments still took place over the summer, and most of the team were able to compete in tournaments like any other summer season.

“A lot of them got to play in tournament play all summer, which was awesome,” Gaudio said. “This fall there are some organizations within the state of Michigan and other ones that are hosting tournaments for college players so they can play on an individual, one-on-one basis.”

The Golf Coaches Association (GCA) has set up two tournaments in Michigan already for the fall, and the Top 50 Junior Tour has set up a college division for the fall, according to Gaudio.

Most golfers will be competing in the fall as much as they can to get ready for the spring competitive season.

Though the spring competitive season is far away, COVID-19 restrictions will inevitably remain throughout the U.S. regarding travel and lodging, which becomes cumbersome for the golf team, considering they travel for every tournament.

In addition to sponsored tournaments, Gaudio and the team will be simulating qualifying rounds to gain a sense of where the team stands.

“The tough part is keeping them motivated as players,” Gaudio said. “We’ll try making some mini tournaments where half of the team competes against the other half and even doing some match play tournaments to keep it competitive and fun.”

From these samples, Gaudio will pick the travel squad to compete in spring tournaments.

“That’ll help me get a little base for [the travel squad],” she said. “Then just watching them short-game wise and on the range just to see where they’re at from the summer to see what we can improve upon.”

With less competitive tournaments against other schools, the competitive nature of the tournaments will be different, whether they are within the team or through other organizations.

“When we go out and play with just our team, it is slightly different than a tournament,” Gaudio said. “One of two things can happen — you can be more focused because you want to play well, or you could be less focused because it’s your friends and you’re out there having a good time.”

Recreating that tournament environment where “every point counts,” according to Gaudio, is the hardest part about not having normal tournaments.

“That’s the hardest part about not having tournaments — not taking it out there in competition against other players and other teams to really see how we’re improving and how we’re doing player-by-player,” she said.

Even though the spring season is months away, there is still uncertainty regarding the season. However, with other sports going on, the golf team has hope their season will take place on time.

“It’s a little bit of a waiting game, but I feel pretty positive about it and that should be pretty good for us,” Gaudio said.