Ella de Jong—Staff Writer
On Sept. 27 and 28, the men’s golf team competed at the GPAC conference championships in Elkhorn, Nebraska at the Indian Creek Golf Course. They competed against eleven teams, finishing seventh on the first day and eighth on the second. The men’s and women’s Dordt University golf teams have been preparing for the GPAC championships since school started back in August.
“We had been playing some solid golf and we were ready to go out and put our team in a good spot going into the spring season,” Blake Harmsen, a men’s competitor at the championships, said. “Unfortunately, we struggled to get going and finished middle of the pack.”
The overall team score was 310 on Monday and 306 on Tuesday, leading to a total of 616 strokes. It was not the desired outcome the golfers looked for, but some individual finishes were in the top tier. The men’s golf team had two golfers in the top twenty at the GPAC tournament with Freddy Bullock, a junior, finishing fourth with a score of 144 and Dutch Farr, a freshman, finishing twentieth with a score of 152.
Every year, the men’s and women’s team championships are split in half. The conference championship’s first two rounds are held in the fall, while the last two rounds are in the spring.
“This gives me some extra fuel to add to the fire to improve in some areas on my golf game during the wintertime to be ready to perform in the spring,” Harmsen says.
The women’s team is not done with their fall season yet. On Oct. 4 and 5, they will compete on the Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, South Dakota, for the conference championship’s first two rounds of golf.
“Our main goal is to go into tournaments and be competitive,” Bailey Weg, a sophomore on the women’s golf team, said. “Which we’ve been doing a good job at as a girls’ team.”
The men had four tournaments leading up to conference, while the women had three. At the women’s last tournament at the Lila Frommelt Invite in Sioux City, Iowa, they took seventh out of eleven ahead of four teams in their conference. The men’s and women’s head golf coach, Jon Crane, says the girls have been preparing for conference by focusing on their weaknesses and practicing them through different shots and situations.
After the women finish their conference, Crane says both teams have a lot to look forward to during the winter months with the new Brian Eekhoff Golf Facility, an indoor golfing facility in the Rec Center. The two-story building will allow players the opportunity to work on putting on the first floor and driving on the second.
“There’s going to be two hitting bays with flight scope technology,” Crane said. “Which is going to allow us to understand flight and what the ball flight would actually be doing.”
Weg and Harmsen are both excited for the new indoor facility. It will provide them a better opportunity to come into the spring season with preparation. As of now, their typical outdoor golf practice consists of either going out to the range and putting green to receive instruction from their coach, or playing 18 holes to put their practice to the test. Before a meet, each individual will play qualifying rounds to see who is the top five for the men and women, as only five players from each team can compete.
Crane explains that golf is a demanding sport. These players miss multiple classes due to playing during the day and must be on top of their responsibilities in order to compete.
“I’m really proud of how hard they’re working and how much time they’ve committed to this season,” Crane says. “Looking forward to what’s gonna happen this winter in the indoor facility and see how we do in the spring.”