The current weather conditions in Iowa may not be ideal for golf, but they are good enough for the ISU golf club.
After months practicing indoors, Iowa State will pit its A and B teams against club teams from the University of Iowa and University of Wisconsin in an 18-hole tournament March 29 at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames.
“I actually have been out there to talk with Greg Dingel, our faculty advisor, a couple times. There was some snow on it a couple weeks ago, but today he sent me a picture of them cutting the greens, so I kind of got excited about that,” said ISU golf club president Matt Dohse.
With weather and course conditions slowly improving, players had the opportunity March 27 to practice outside on the driving range for the first time since their first tournament of the spring season in Branson, Mo., on March 1 and 2.
Before finally venturing back outdoors, the club had to get creative in the winter months to stay sharp.
“We were inside at Lied [Recreation Center] either on the turf doing short game or putting and we were in the batting cages just hitting golf balls into the net I’d say for a solid two months,” Dohse said.
When the time came to venture to Missouri in early March, Dohse wasn’t sure what type of showing the team would have at the National Collegiate Club Golf Association central regional tournament.
“I did not know what to expect from our team considering we had not hit a ball outside. I’d say we did OK for not even playing outside,” Dohse said of the team’s fourth-place finish.
Along with two non-qualifying tournaments, Iowa State will also play in two regional tournaments this spring. The regional tournaments have implications for the association’s national tournament, which the club missed out on in the fall.
“It was not the start we all wanted,” said sophomore Jeremy Mason, who tied for seventh individually. “We’re still in decent position where if we play well in our second regional in two weeks, we might have a shot to go to nationals. We’re not out of contention, but we’re not in the spot we wanted to be.”
In order to advance to nationals, Mason said the team likely has to win the second regional tournament April 5 and 6 in Hartsburg, Mo.
“For first place, you get six points; second place you get two points; third place you get one point. Whatever team that has the highest point total after two tournaments will go to nationals,” Mason said of the qualifying process.
With a fourth-place finish in the first regional, Iowa State did not earn any points and will have to win and hope for the top-three finishers from the first tournament — Saint Louis, Missouri and Iowa — to finish outside out of the top three.
Whether or not Iowa State advances to New Jersey to compete at nationals, Mason, a varsity golfer in high school, has enjoyed the opportunity the club has given him to stay competitive.
“It’s nice to represent my school,” Mason said. “You miss that competitiveness of playing golf, so it’s nice to get back into it again. It’s nice meeting people with the same interests as you.”
Though the ISU golf club went competitive for the first time in 2013-14, Dohse encourages golfers of any skill level to join the club for its noncompetitive side.
“You come out once or twice a week and play nine holes,” Dohse said. “You pay a membership fee for the club each semester which gets you a T-shirt and entrance into all our events.”
The club has made it a point to be active on several social media platforms to share information about the club.
“You can check out our Facebook page, our Twitter and this semester we have our own Web page now,” Dohse said. “I’d say we’re probably the best in the social media category for all club teams in the country.”