As the spring season approaches, the Rutgers men’s golf team anxiously awaits the chance to get back out on the links. Under the guidance of second year head coach Rob Shutte, the Scarlet Knights went back to the basics in their off-season training.
Due to the colder climate throughout the winter months, the team spent most of their time indoors improving their mental toughness and perfecting crucial fundamentals. The Scarlet Knights concentrated on workouts that forced them to face adversity. By learning to stay 100% focused throughout challenges, the players will be able to remain composed if faced with a tight situation in a round of competition.
Along with strengthening their minds, the Scarlet Knights focused on sharpening their technique. The team benefited greatly from a course simulator set up in the Hale Center. The simulator allowed the players to focus strictly on their shots and tempo while avoiding the cold weather and any other distracting elements. This training truly enabled the team to get back to the basics.
“When you take away the rest of the land where you would normally hit the ball, when you strip that [land] away it can be really good,” Coach Shutte explained.
“It ends up bringing it back to just focusing on you and the ball and some of those fundamental things, which are very basic, yet really matter. Whenever you start adding the course, adding the range it can take you away from those fundamentals.”
The fall season highlighted the strengths that each player can bring in spring competition. Junior Jonathan Renza (Cortland Manor, N.Y.) came on strong later in the season, setting a course record in the Waterville Collegiate Classic. The tournament took place on the Waterville Links, one of Ireland’s most challenging courses.
Showing consistency throughout the entire fall for the Scarlet Knights, were junior Doug Walters (Blairstown, N.J.) and sophomore Jacob Stockl (Clark, N.J.). Walters finished in the top 20 of four tournaments, tying for third at the Lehigh Invitational and for fifth at the Rutgers Invitational. Stockl maintained a 76 stroke average across four tournaments.
Junior Dillon Corbo (Montville, N.J.) and sophomore Hyung Mo Kim (Norwood, N.J.) bring lots of talent to links as well. Each competed in four events, playing 11 rounds for the Scarlet Knights.
As a freshman, Jonathan Chang (Valencia, Calif.) had a stand out season. Competing in all five events, Chang showed his potential after carding a 212 (71-68-71) to place third out of 83-competitors at the Rutgers Invitational.
Be prepared to see certain firepower come to light when senior John Fagan (Flemington, NJ) and freshman Louis Bodine (Flemington, N.J.) return to competition.
Entering the spring season, the Scarlet Knights will focus on staying in the moment and having confidence in the execution of their shots. The team pushed aside result-oriented expectations to focus mainly on preparation.
“We are learning how to have zero expectations whatsoever that relate to specific performance. Although, we do have expectations when it comes to our preparation and our effort,” Coach Shutte explained.
“We really just want it to be about the preparation. If we are really prepared to win, then the wins will take care of themselves.”
The team’s preparation will be put to the test when they start the season March 16, 2013 down in Port St. Lucie, Fla. at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular. After the C & F Bank Intercollegiate tournament in Williamsburg, Va., the team will travel to Maryland for the Towson Invitational. The team wraps up the season at the Rutherford Intercollegiate tournament in State College, Pa., before heading to the BIG EAST Championship. The Championship is set to take place April 28-30 in Orlando, Fla.