The Northwest golf team is looking to add on from the fall season of finishing 10th in the Central Region Preview, as well as 8th overall in the conference for last year.
The Bearcats traveled to Muskogee, Oklahoma, to take part in the NCAA Division II Central Region Preview to start the spring season. Taking part in this tournament helps the teams involved, as it will be the course that the NCAA Regional Championship will be held this spring.
Northwest started the fall season with sophomore Anna Zech in the top-20 of the tournament. Zech is one of Northwest’s top golfers, and she finished 19th at the tourney after shooting 153 in the two-day tournament.
Coach Andy Peterson spoke about how he expects his team to play during the spring season after competing in the fall tournament.
“We just don’t have the swings in yet and confidence that comes with it,” Peterson said. “It’s going to be a very mental spring for us to stay locked in and in the moment of competing.”
Peterson is helping his team get prepared for the spring season while trying to manage another job away from being the head coach. Peterson took over the Athletic Director position April 2018 after Mel Tjeerdsma retired.
Peterson said this is a major role for him, as he has another big responsibility being the girl's golf coach.
“I was very honest with them about my goals, and they’ve supported me and this journey from the start,” Peterson said. “It would be very hard to be an athlete and do what they do without a coach there at every practice and workout, but they act like professionals and have handled it.”
Having two seasons is almost like playing golf year-round. You are either playing competitively or you are practicing for the next season. With being able to play during both the fall and the spring, college teams are able to keep its game going and not have a true “off-season.”
Teams like Northwest are able to see how they compete in the fall and make adjustments to how they handle the spring season. Peterson said having a fall season is beneficial to every college team.
“At that time of the year, the women are at the top of their games after playing all spring, summer, and fall, so they are clicking,” Peterson said. “Getting those good rounds in the fall has set us up for success this spring.”
Throughout the fall season, the course time was limited for many practices that were supposed to be held. This is all due to weather striking the region, especially late in the season. The Midwest Fall Classic, Northwest’s home meet, had to be canceled due to rain. Peterson commented on how this impacts not just Northwest, but other universities as well.
“Our facilities are top notch when we are able to get out there, so that’s something to hang our hat on,” Peterson said. “Every part of the country has its climatic challenges, so we accept ours, as does everyone, and we put our best swings on the ball no matter where we are.”
The Bearcats’ home course, Mozingo Lake Golf Course, takes advantage of the golf simulator during the winter and bad weather. It tells the golfers how to work on their swing based on the way the ball is hit as well as other modes they can use to help them become a better golfer.
“The Hughes Fieldhouse has been just as useful,” Peterson said. “We’re very blessed with our facilities and the relationship we have with the city of Maryville and Mozingo.”
The Bearcat golf team will travel to Edmond, Oklahoma, March 11-12 to take part in the Diffee Ford Lincoln Invitational.