With the weather just starting to get warm, many may wonder how the Michigan men’s golf team has been keeping its game in check. With sub-freezing temperatures from most of December through February, one might ask where and how the team gets their cuts in.
“In winter, we practice four times a week at Miles of Golf, which is a heated driving range on Carpenter Road. We also hit wedges in Oosterban Fieldhouse,” Michigan coach Andrew Sapp said. “However, the hardest part during the winter is working on the short game because we can’t get a total feel.”
The summer is when the Wolverines are able to make their biggest strides individually and better their games through amateur events.
“The season is so busy with school that it’s hard to make swing and long-term changes,” Sapp said of his players. “With the great weather during the summer, there is a great opportunity for (the golfers) to really play in some great amateur events and work on their games so they can come out of the box strong in the fall.”
Fielding no seniors on the squad this season, the Wolverines have relied on juniors Dave Nichols and Scott Carlton to lead the young, but talented, club.
“All of our young guys are very enthusiastic and are working hard,” Sapp said. “The team morale is pretty high despite all the lumps we’ve taken.”
Competing in tournaments in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Citrus Springs, Fla., the Wolverines have been subjecting themselves to some of the best competition in the country. As the old saying goes, you’ve got to beat the best, to be the best.
“We’re putting ourselves up against some of the most talented teams in the country,” Sapp said. “I want the guys to know what it’s like to be top 20 in the country.”
With the Big Ten schedule about to get underway on April 12th, the Wolverines are in their most crucial segment of the season as they look for momentum leading up to the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington the weekend of May 2.
“The main thing for us is we need to develop leadership and guys who will follow,” Sapp said. “We need more consistency. Many guys shoot one or two good rounds, but they aren’t putting together all three.”
There is little doubt that the biggest obstacle for all Big Ten schools is the unfavorable weather conditions that they have to deal with for a large portion of the school year. When playing against schools from warmer climates like South Carolina, Florida or Georgia, weaknesses due to the climate get exposed. But the Wolverines refuse to fall victim to their elements.
“Sure, it’s hard going down South and playing the Southern schools, but there are no excuses. Every Big Ten school is on the same boat,” Sapp said. “Just look at Minnesota, who won the national championship last year. Their weather is worse than ours.”
Michigan heads to Lexington, Ky. this weekend to take part in the Johnny Owens Invitational before it battles it out for the Big Ten crown.