Author: Chris Suzdak
The highly successful but uncelebrated men’s golf team must adapt to a new season format this school year: The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) has decided to split the Division III golf season into two semesters for the players’ benefit. Due to the nature of the sport, a complete round of 18 holes is an all-day event and, because tee times at golf courses on weekends are significantly more expensive and harder to come by, college golf tournaments are usually played during weekdays.
As a result, Oxy golfers have missed a considerable amount of class time during past spring semesters. To give these student-athletes a more relaxed schedule, the team will now spread their conference and non-conference tournaments over the entire school year.
Oxy golfers seem to be happy with this new change even though it requires them to be committed all year. In the past, many important tournaments were clustered in a hectic three-month period. “With the longer season, it allows players to be more prepared and able to play their best when it counts,” golfer Miles Cole (sophomore) said.
The team will also be sporting new matching uniforms and golf bags to promote a better sense of unity. There is no denying that golf is a sport of culture and class. “I think our new look and upgraded bags will definitely help legitimize our program and make people take us more seriously,” said golfer Andrew Larkin (sophomore).
According to the Occidental Athletics Web site, Oxy golf has boasted a respectable program for over 70 years now and has last won the conference tournament title in 1998. Recently, the team has shown potential to return to glory yet again. The growing strength of the team was evident last spring as it placed fourth in what is arguably one of the most competitive Division III golf leagues in the nation.
In tribute to its continued promise, the team’s first-year class was ranked second in the nation at the end of the season, with Larkin and Sam Weiss (sophomore) leading as all-conference players. The team captain, Richard Highsmith (senior), will be playing his fourth and final season for Oxy this year.
Erik Johnson, the head coach of the men’s golf team as well as the Defensive Coordinator for the Oxy football team, is confident in his team’s ability to be even better this year.
He also believes that the new schedule will help his players put their best effort in and actually have time to correct technique problems that might arise. “I think a year of maturity, Highsmith returning to his normal consistent form, the addition of Rammi Haazza (first-year), and the overall improvement each of our players should make will lead to a very exciting season,” Johnson said.
While the team’s official home course is the Annandale Golf Club in Pasadena, Oxy golfers can also be found playing practice rounds at courses all around greater Los Angeles, an area with convenient year-round playing conditions. However, they typically head up to Scholl Canyon Golf Course, located atop the hills just north of Eagle Rock, for quick driving range sessions whenever their schedules allow.
The team’s first match will take place on Sunday, Oct. 4 against a school yet to be determined.
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