After having a successful fall season in which it won two of its five tournaments, the Loyola women’s golf team is primed and ready for its spring season. As they headed into the offseason, four of the seven golfers were averaging fewer than 80 strokes per round and now with the spring season, the team is prepared to succeed.
There’s a challenge in switching from the fall to spring season: The weather is colder, which means less time on an actual course and more time utilizing the team’s on-campus resources, specifically the putting green inside Gentile Arena. Head coach Carly Schneider said the spring season means focusing more on the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament.
“The spring is definitely where we are in a serious mindset and getting ready for that conference championship,” Schneider said. “There is a lot of opportunity to play golf in the fall and to do well in those tournaments, which we proved ourselves to do pretty well.”
Sophomore Morgan Brown said the spring season weather conditions were hard to adapt to, but luckily, many of the golfers are from the Midwest, so they are used to cooler weather in the spring.
“We start out in March, so it’s super cold here and really unpredictable weather-wise,” Brown said. “It’s very challenging adapting to that, whereas in the fall, you are coming off the warm summer season and into the 70-degree, perfect, ideal temperature.”
Since the team ended its fall season, junior Elayna Bowser said the golfers have been working to improve their games. She said it was important to stay in tune with practicing so they wouldn’t be rusty for the spring.
Schneider said with golf, it’s more of a one-on-one time for her with the golfers. Since the sport is individually played, she has to tailor her training to each player differently.
“It’s just seeing what I can help with individually,” Schneider said. “Then really seeing what everybody is maybe struggling with or what those weaknesses are and pushing them to make those weaknesses a little bit stronger.”
The golfers have set some high goals for one another this year. Brown said they’re hoping to have a chance at first place in the MVC tournament in April.
“I think we have a really good shot at it this year,” Brown said. “We’ve put in a lot of preparation and practice and organized our schedules so that we can hopefully prepare to win it.”
Bowser said the MVC title is attainable so long as the team goes into its three tournaments leading up to the conference tournament with a winning mindset. She said the golfers had a good run in the fall and they’re trying to translate their confidence into results.
“If we do well at those three [tournaments], then it will give us even more confidence going into conference,” Bowser said. “I definitely think we can win conference as a team. We did well in the fall and hopefully we can carry that momentum from the fall into the spring season as well.”
The team was able to see the course for the MVC tournament during the fall season, giving the golfers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with not only the course, but also the tactics they need to win. Bowser said the MVC Preview is essential to performing well at the MVC Tournament.
Along with team goals, the golfers also set personal goals. While everyone’s was different, they’re all centered around a similar idea of improvement. Brown said she generally wanted to improve her game.
“I’m looking to gain a lot of yardage out there so that my approach shots are a little bit shorter coming into the green,” Brown said. “[I want] to build up the strength so that I can keep my swing more consistent. Also just always improve my putting because I usually struggle around the putting green.”
Bowser said she created her goals on a more pinpointed idea. She said she wasn’t exactly where she wanted to be and is hoping to improve going into the spring season.
“Personally, I just want to continue to lower my scoring average and continue to improve overall my whole game,” Bowser said. “I go into every tournament wanting to win and that’s still my mindset.”
Brown said the team feeds off of its previous success or, sometimes, lack thereof. The golfers use those moments as motivation to drive their success toward a better game.
“My fall didn’t go as well this year as it did [first] year, but I know that I have felt that success before and know what it takes to get there,” Brown said. “If I can just put forth that effort and give it the best I can, hopefully it works out. My game is just as strong as it was and I think my swing is a lot better, so I want to do better than how I did last year and I can build off of that.”
Bowser said she’s also hoping to do better this spring season because she wasn’t satisfied with her fall season. She’s been pushing herself harder in the hopes for more success.
Schneider said she has high hopes for the team and thinks this could be Loyola’s year. She pointed out some golfers to keep an eye on this season who she thinks will lead the team to victory, including Bowser and senior Jessie Staed. She said the team is young and hungry and it’s great to see the golfers compete at such a high standard.
The Ramblers are scheduled to play in their first tournament of the spring March 25 at the Saluki Invitational in Carbondale.