Mercer Golf Team gears up for upcoming tournament
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Golf is a uniquely individual sport, but collegiate golf is different because it combines scores from the top five players who compete. The highest score, the worst score, is dropped and the remaining four make up the total.
The Mercer Men’s Golf team is undoubtedly that: a team. However, individual performances determine who makes up those five invaluable scores.
In their last tournament, the team was represented by five underclassmen. Different from most sports, before each tournament the athletes are pitted against each other in order to determine who will travel.
“It’s an individual sport at heart, but it’s a different dynamic in college because you’re playing as a team. So it’s funny in the sense that it’s important to build team camaraderie and positively uplift your teammates, but at the same time, at the end of the day, you have to compete against those guys and try to beat them,” explained freshman Hayes Rule.
Kayden is in his second year as the head coach for the Bears, and is excited about the diversity of his team. With two seniors and a handful of younger athletes, the small group has “a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement,” said Kayden.
Coach Kayden said that the youthfulness of the team has brought a new thirst for competition, and has stirred up a new feeling of anticipation.
“We’re young,” Coach Kayden said, but “with our hard work, I think we’ll have a lot of success.”
Clearly a mentally challenging sport, with all your success hinging on a few swings of a stick, golf has become one of Mercer’s most prized academically and athletically achieving sports.
Both the women and men’s golf teams are gone for stretches of time at tournaments. Keeping up with schoolwork has been difficult, but the athletes credit their support system for keeping their heads above water.
Last Spring, the Men’s Golf Team was awarded the highest GPA award. Though they did not perform as well as they had wished in the Fall season, Coach Kayden said that every semester feels like a new season. A new round of team competition, a new round of tournaments, a new round of swings.
In order to win a Southern Conference championship, a common goal among Mercer athletic teams, Coach Kayden said they have to focus on the small things.
“You gotta be able to control the things that you can control, and that’s the shot in front of you,” said Coach Kayden.
The Bears will compete in their next tournament Friday, March 11.