Feb. 21, 2000
by Tripp James Clemson Tiger Golf Team Member
It’s a great time to be excited about Clemson Golf. Why? Because right now our golf team is embarking upon a mission. That mission is to win a national championship.
Our journey started last week as the weather improved and official practice began. Everyone is excited about our chances this spring as the team will be lead by a trio of returning All-Americans. This group of gifted players includes juniors Lucas Glover and John Engler along with our senior leader Jonathan Byrd, the second ranked amateur golfer in the world according to Golfweek Magazine.
The rest of our golf team is loaded in talent and is very deep considering we have 12 guys on the roster. Together, the nine remaining team members have combined to win numerous tournaments in amateur and junior golf so each player knows how to win. Hopefully, all this experience will pay off down the road when the chips are on the line at the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
To further prepare us for these big tournaments Coach Larry Penley has implemented a rigorous practice schedule. Hopefully, the more work we put in now, the more rewards we will receive down the line.
We are very fortunate to have a wonderful practice facility behind the Jervey Athletic Center. This facility includes a driving range, chipping green, and a brand new covered foul weather practice area. Most of the guys use these facilities all the time, but we have official practice at “Jervey” as we call it on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from two until six. The other days of the week we play golf on the numerous courses around the upstate that we are very lucky to have access to. These courses include our very own Walker Golf Course, Crosscreek Plantation, Smithfields C.C., Pickens C.C., Boscobel G.C., Chanticleer G.C., and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards. We usually rotate courses each day and practice on our own over the weekends.
The team is especially grateful to our Athletic Department for the new indoor practice facility at the opposite end of our Jervey range. It contains a covered tee area where we can hit practice balls in wet or bitter cold weather. “The shed” as we call it also includes a covered Astroturf putting green as well as a room that will soon contain an awesome computer system with video equipment for us to analyze our swings. Everything is set up right now except for the computer/video system, but it should be installed any day now. I am especially thankful and excited about this system because it is supposed to have a program where we can compare our swings to the swings of golf’s greatest ball strikers like Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. I can’t say enough about how great this new shed is! Now there will be no more excuses for taking it easy when it rains which is definitely a good thing.
Another way our team hopes to gain some valuable experience is through our current team match play tournament that is going on right now. Since we have twelve players, we have played four stroke play rounds over the last 10 days to cut down to eight for match play. These top eight will play each other and eventually a champion will be crowned. Hopefully this intersquad competition will get our competitive juices flowing as we get pumped up for our first tournament next week in Puerto Rico. It should also give everyone some valuable experience since it simulates a tournament situation.
I am also proud to say that for the first time, our team is taking part in an Athlete’s in Action sponsored bible study group. We have had 100 percent participation so far. This is a source of great pride since we have been able to achieve full participation. Every week we are lead by former Tiger baseball standout Jason Harris – a great guy. He has really helped us grow as a team and be thankful for God’s blessings. I am really excited about continuing these meetings every week and I am grateful to Jason for helping us out.
Well that about sums up what’s going on in the exciting world of Clemson Golf. We appreciate the support from all our great Tiger fans. It always brings a smile to my face when I see a car with a Clemson Golf license plate. I especially thank all those people for their support.
Our first two tournaments will be here before you know it. We kick things off in Puerto Rico, February 27-29 and then we head to Las Vegas, March 10-12. After that we come back to the area for the Chris Schenkel in Statesboro, Georgia and the US Collegiate Championships in Black Diamond, Florida which is scheduled to be on ESPN during the weekend of the Masters, so hopefully all of you Tiger Golf fans can catch a glimpse of us! Finally, we finish up the spring at the ACC Tournament just north of Charlotte, move on to the East Regionals and our ultimate goal, the NCAA Finals.
Thanks again for your support of Tiger Golf. I will try to keep you informed on what we are up to in the future.
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