Golf team preps for upcoming season, works toward individual and team goals

My club swings through the air once, twice and finally, on the third swing, it connects with the neon, yellow golf ball at my feet, which reluctantly flies off to my left.In a line behind me, first-year Noah Ratner, sophomore Dusty Roberts, first-year J.T. Thomas and senior Peter Latimer watch as their golf balls soar hundreds of feet into the air, while casually joking with each other. Golf team captain Brian Creghan, a senior, videotapes my rather embarrassing performance, while offering advice in between my rather pathetic swings.

Keep your hands closer together, he tells me, after one attempt where my hands were about six inches apart. I did what he said and finally managed to hit the ball on the next attempt.

Creghan then informs me that my ball only went about 30 feet. I hand the club back to Creghan and move back to the side to watch the golf team use their irons to hit ball after ball at least a hundred and thirty yards past my sad, little attempt.

I do not play golf, and for good reason.

Head Coach Jack Jensen, who has led the golf team for 34 years and has been honored in The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, also made an appearance. The only two team members not present at the Deep River Driving Range on Jan. 29 were sophomore Andrew Thayer and senior Josh Sumler.

In a chat with golf team members, some interesting similarities among them appeared. For instance, most of them chose Guilford primarily for the same reasons.

“Golf is the reason I came to Guilford because I loved the small school aspect of it, the golf team, and coach Jack Jensen,” Ratner said.

Another similarity between the players involve their goals. Almost all of them said they want to be the best golfers they could be. They also all want to win the national championship this year.

“For college golf, definitely trying to win nationals this year is one of our goals, but before we do that, we’d like to win the conference in April,” Creghan said. “I’d like to get a couple other wins – I think we have four tournaments prior to that – just to get some experience with how to win a tournament.”

As of now, the golf team is ranked second in the nation, though they haven’t won a tournament yet this year.Latimer and Creghan have proven themselves as two of the South region’s finest Division III golfers, according to Guilford’s Web site.

For a game that is usually considered to be an individual sport, the golf team emphasizes the word “team.” The team makes sure to practice together as much as possible.

However, each golfer does have their own personal goals, yet those goals are ones that will help the team.

“I want to improve my driving accuracy and keep it on the fairway,” said Thayer, in an e-mail interview.

The golf season is a year-round sport, and the men have been swinging away since the fall. They hope to continue to work as a team and make it to nationals, where they look to welcome a resounding victory.