Chris Perry, Daniel Horton, and Eric Nystrom. All coming from Michigan’s big three sports, these players are quasi rockstars on campus. They’re noticed every time they have lunch in the Union. But there are many other hard-working University student-athletes. That said, it is time to get acquainted with Scott Carlton, a fifth-year senior on the Michigan men’s golf team.
The man who would play a round with Bill Murray if he had the chance has a different college routine than most students. Although his classes usually start in the evening, Carlton is up by 8:30 a.m. so he can lift and run before his 2:30 p.m. practice. The practices always have to be during the mid-afternoon, so the Wolverines can maximize playing time in unpredictable Michigan weather. Carlton is a graduate student in the Sports Management program and has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors the past three years. He has excelled at both school and the links (three finishes in the top-20 and one in the top-10).
After a disappointing eighth-place showing last spring in the Big Ten Championships, the entire team has been dedicated to becoming a contender by the time the Big Ten Championships hit Ann Arbor in May.
“There are many reasons to be optimistic about this upcoming season,” Carlton said. “The team returns everyone from last year and has a couple freshmen who look very good.”
In addition, this is Michigan coach Andrew Sapp’s second year with the team, so all the lessons and experience it gained last year should show up on the scorecard. Having only one other senior on the team, Dave Nichols, Carlton believes that he has to lead vocally, but more importantly, by example.
“All the words in the world don’t matter if you don’t put up the scores,” Carlton said.
In order to be a leader on the team, Carlton has changed his attitude toward the game. In the past, he thought he was too rigid, leading to difficult rounds. But he now has a more laid-back approach. To him, golf used to be the end-all, be-all. Now, even in his final season and with the Big Ten Championships being held on the Michigan Golf Course, there is no sense of urgency; he is confident that he and the rest of the team can play.