ISU golf club gains valuable experience

Jack Macdonald

Members of the ISU golf club have experienced individual success in the first few years of the club’s existence, but recently that success has extended to the club as a whole. For the first time in club history, the entire team qualified for the National Collegiate Club Golf Association National Championship tournament.

The tournament was took place April 25 and 26 at Bryan Park Golf Course in North Carolina. During the two days, each team played 36 holes on two separate courses, the Champions course and the Players course.

The Champions course is the tougher of the two and featured a lot more ridges around the greens. Golfers had to hit the ball straight to keep it on the fairway. The Players course is a more traditional course with sand traps and hazards.

The club placed 20th out of 38 teams. Of the seven ISU golfers they sent, junior David Stein finished 34th out of 295, earning Iowa State’s best score. After shooting a team total of 414 on day one, the club was able to bounce back and shoot a 394 on day two. The Cyclones finished 88 shots over par.

“On day one, we played on the Champions course, and we were battling rain and wind, which made it extremely tough,” Stein said.

On April 23, the day before the first round, the team was able to go out and shoot a practice round. With good conditions for that, the team was thrown off balance by the rain that pelted them the following day. A steady rain fell through nearly the entire round on day one.

“In the practice round, we were able to determine where we should hit the ball and having near perfect conditions was huge,” said junior Jeremy Mason. “Then with the weather on that first day, we just had to go back to the basics.”

Jeremy Mason and David Stein were the only previous ISU golfers on the team who had NCCGA nationals experience. Stein qualified in the fall of 2013 and the fall of 2014. Mason, a one-time qualifier, qualified in the Spring of 2014. 

Mason and Stein were able to provide help to the team with their experience. They were familiar with the extra distractions that surround the event and how to handle downtime between rounds. 

“The experience really played to our advantage,” Mason said. “Now everyone has that experience and will only make us better next year.”

After shooting a total of 808 for the two rounds, the club was pleased with its performance. However, not all individual golfers were happy with how they golfed.

Stein was making his third appearance at nationals and was hoping to place higher. In previous years Stein finished in the middle of the pack, so this year was a step in the right direction. Mason, making his second appearance at nationals, finished 64th.

“I didn’t golf as good as I hoped, given it wasn’t my first time,” Stein said. “Next year should be another good year as the team and myself know what to improve on.”

The club also returns a good chunk of the golfers who qualified for nationals this year and wants to bring in more golfers in hopes of contending for the title in the fall 2015 nationals.

Florida claimed the team title, while Josh Heinze of Michigan State won the red jacket as the individual national champion. The Gators shot 758 and Heinze shot 143 during the two days. Laura Kanouse of Florida finished 11th, making her the highest female finisher of the tournament.

“It’s a good learning experience and we now know what to expect,” Mason said. “We can only get better.”