Competition, not security, rules on golf team
Imagine having a job that required you to reapply for your position every single week. No matter how good of a job you had been doing or how high up in the company you were, your job was in jeopardy each and every week and in the blink of an eye you could be fired and out on the street with nothing but sad, bitter memories of what once was.
Welcome to the life of the UCCS menâ€TMs golf team, where the only constant is unrivaled competition and complete uncertainty on a weekly basis. If youâ€TMre looking for security and stability, the only links you should hit are hot dogs (to give stability to your ever growing pot belly) not a golf course.
The truth is that golf could perhaps carry one of the bigger stigmas in all of sports. It has gotten the unwarranted reputation as a recreational sport played mostly by arthritic old men and robust, scale-breaking two-seat occupants on an airplane. In reality, someone old or obese is as likely to survive one week as a collegiate golfer as an offensive lineman is to only get one serving at an â€˜all you can eatâ€TM surf â€˜n turf.
A collegiate golferâ€TMs life was summed up perfectly by UCCS senior and team captain Trent Daum, who said that, â€œone bad week could make it to where you donâ€TMt play the rest of the year.â€
When you put that statement into context it is rather remarkable. Imagine Albert Pujols being benched the whole year because he only got one hit during a week, or Peyton Manning being benched because he threw three interceptions during a Colts loss, or even Shaq being benched for not making a free throw during a week of games. Those are all ridiculous scenarios that, of course, would never occur because those sports do not demand perfection. But there is nothing ridiculous about Daumâ€TMs statement. One bad week could cost a golfer his whole year.
The reason Daumâ€TMs statement is accurate is simple. Every week can almost be viewed as a brand new season. On a Monday following a tournament, all UCCS golfers have an equal chance to play in the upcoming tournament. During the week each player plays three qualifying rounds and the owners of the five lowest scores play in the tournament.
This â€˜do-or-dieâ€TM format that college golf implements is extreme, but necessary.
â€œThe best players are going to be playing in the tournament,â€ said junior Eric Winder who has participated in every tournament for the Mountain Lions during the fall season.
But the format also puts enough pressure on the players that would make brain surgeon blush. However, UCCS players embrace the pressure.
â€œIt has become what I know,â€ said Daum, who is in his fifth year at UCCS and has grown accustomed to the pressure.
To Winder, the intense pressure from week to week is all about preparing the team for success.
â€œWe get a lot of confidence [from practicing],â€ said Winder. â€œWe practice from the middle of the day until the sun goes down.â€
The intense practices prepare the team for tournaments where every shot is important and requires the playerâ€TMs full attention. Just like how one bad week can ruin a season, the same can be said that one bad shot can ruin a playerâ€TMs â€" and his teamâ€TMs â€" round.
â€œWe practice so much so that there are no second thoughts running through [our] heads when we hit every shot,â€ explained Winder.
Although the qualifying system places plenty of pressure on the players each week, itâ€TMs supported by the team.
â€œIt makes for a really good team,â€ said Daum.
That is exactly what the UCCS menâ€TMs golf team is so far this year; really good.
But â€œso farâ€ are the operative words. In golf, anything can, and usually does, happen.
â€œGolf is a game where one day youâ€TMre awesome and the next day youâ€TMre horrible,â€ said Daum.
And you have to earn your job each and every week.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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