Not many people on this campus can say that they have broken a golf club on their leg after hitting a poor shot. But not many can say they have shot a 74 (2-over par) at the University of Michigan golf course either.
Michigan freshman Bruce Svechota-Kingsbury can say both.
Thankfully for the Michigan men’s golf team, the freshman has been doing less club-snapping of late, as he is turning into a solid contributor for the Wolverines.
Growing up in Ann Arbor, getting in a round of golf was not always possible, so Svechota-Kingsbury played other sports to pass the time.
“I would get out to the golf course when it got warm,” Svechota-Kingsbury said. “But I played basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring.”
His love for basketball has carried over to Michigan, where he and his teammates often spend time practicing their jumpshots when they’re not at the driving range. Svechota-Kingsbury even joined an IM basketball team with a few other golfers.
“A lot of us guys play other sports – we’re not all just golf nerds,” Svechota-Kingsbury said.
Svechota-Kingsbury said that just like when playing golf, his teammates all have different strengths on the hardwood.
“(Sophomore) Rob Tighe – he’s a big guy, so he’s got solid post-moves,” Svechota-Kingsbury said. “I’m a perimeter type player, I pretty much take a lot of outside shots.”
But the freshman admits that the two sports are almost polar opposites, both physically and mentally.
“When playing basketball, anger management is not quite as much an issue,” he said. “If you take a bad shot, you can make up for it on the defensive end. But if you start getting mad in golf, it’s hard to recover.
“I used to break a lot of things (when I got angry). I’ve broken a couple clubs. I broke my bag once. But that’s all done now; I’ve improved greatly since coming here.”
Svechota-Kingsbury finished with Michigan’s lowest single-round score (75) at the Johnny Owens Invitational two weekends ago. He says he “thinks the prospects are good” that he will be in the lineup at the Kepler Invitational in Columbus this weekend, played at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
Fellow freshman and Florida native Blake Burman also stressed the importance of anger management when struggling on the course. Burman says that he plays with a “silent intensity,” and that it is often difficult to know how well he is doing by looking at his face.
“Expressing anger can only be a negative thing,” Burman said. “I’m a firm believer in making the next shot better.”
Unlike Svechota-Kingsbury, Burman grew up on the warm beaches and courses of Miami and never started playing other sports because golf was a year-round possibility.
“I joke with the other guys when its 50 degrees here, and they say it’s a good day to play golf,” Burman said. “In Florida, if it’s 50 degrees one day, there’s 364 other days in the year when it’s warmer, and I could play golf.”
Having to adjust to Michigan’s conditions has been difficult for him, but he says it is a process he is working on. Although the cold weather can be frustrating since it doesn’t allow the Wolverines to practice as much as they would like, Burman manages to stay cool.