Golfers swing for victory
With the wisp of a driver cutting through the air and the crack of the club hitting the little white ball, junior elementary education major Courtney Nelson breathes a sigh of relief. It was another good drive.
She finished the Seguin Lady Bulldog Classic in second place, just one stroke behind the leader. Nelson also led the women’s team to finish in second overall. Each of the five Lady Cru finished within the top 16 individual scores for the tournament, ending the fall season with success.
“(Nelson’s) come a long way since last year. She came in with no confidence in her game anymore,” Head women’s golf Coach, Darla Kirby, said. “She’s really found that confidence and, a lot of that is because of her hard work.”
The men’s team finished fifth at the Bohmann Invitational Oct. 27 and 28 which was held in Seguin. Davis Dewald, the men’s team leader, tied for second place as an individual.
Aaron Rodeffer spent several years coaching at the high school level, but joined UMHB as the men’s head golf coach in July.
When comparing the high school and college level team coaching experience, Rodeffer said, “They’re two totally different animals to me.”
He found the right fit at the university and hopes to contribute to the success of the team.
“It’s everything I was looking for in my coaching aspiration … moving up to the college ranks is something I had on my career goal list,” Rodeffer said. “I couldn’t think of a better place than Mary Hardin-Baylor to start that.”
The men’s team is hoping to continue the tradition of finishing as conference champions and advancing to the nationals, a history of successes established by previous coach, Randy Mann.
Both the men’s and women’s teams practice at least five days a week. Between qualifying and working on short games, the teams manage to keep a competitive edge.
Practices are held at the Wildflower Country Club in Temple. Rodeffer said the course compares to the difficulty of numerous others.
“I think Wildflower is enough of a challenge to help us keep a competitive edge and really work on our games so that we can compete in conference.”
After playing the same 18 holes at Wildflower week after week, the players improve their game. At tournaments where the greens are not as familiar, the different course layouts can be an added challenge.
“The guys would probably say it’s not as difficult as some of the courses we play, but they get to play it every day,” he said. “When we go to tournament, we’re playing a relatively new course that we don’t see very often.”
Junior sport management major and third-year women’s golf team member, Christi Williams, said that golf is “definitely a big part of our lives.”
Many consider it to be a lifetime sport because it’s different from football and basketball, which require a different level of agility and endurance.
“We always kid around that we’ll be the old ladies in our skirts … driving around,” Williams said. “And we can’t even swing the golf club anymore.”