Marquette golf swings into spring

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Head coach Steve Bailey (far right) stands with his team. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

With the start of the second semester of the 2020-21 school year, the Marquette men’s golf team’s spring season is also getting set to begin, after an offseason that has been very different from years past.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was unable to play in tournaments or outings in the fall. Although it may seem as if there would be no benefits to the fall season being canceled, there have been learning takeaways and positive experiences from that time that will help them this spring season.

Some players have said that the cancellation has helped teammates focus on more on little fixes to help their game as a whole.

“Our team has focused on the low-hanging fruit that you can pick up on to get better,” redshirt sophomore Connor Brown said. “These include meditation, getting proper nutrition, the right amount of sleep, having a consistent schedule and being more ambitious with your time.”

“Incorporating these into our lifestyle has made us be more efficient and get more out of practice and our free time,” head coach Steve Bailey said.

The team has also been able to grow more together. Prior to the pandemic, the players would usually work out or meditate alone, but now players have come together as a group. If one player wants to work out he will ask others if they want to join him.

“We are all now open to trying new things, we do what we can to improve,” Brown said.

For instance, if Brown or a teammate plans to go do yoga, they will ask other players if they want to join.

Bailey has seen Brown as a leader when it comes to developing these everyday habits, which are now becoming contagious among his teammates. These habits include running half-marathons and getting more sleep. Players have emphasized how they are sleeping more this year than any other.

“The players have these ‘WHOOP’ bands that measure your sleep score and they have made that a competition, which leads them to having more energy the next day,” Bailey said. The sleep score tells you the amount of sleep you get every week and the more sleep you get, the higher the score is.

Not only do players enjoy doing activities with each other, they have also maintained a positive attitude despite the circumstances.

“The biggest thing we have in our program is our culture,” Bailey said. “When that positive energy is at the forefront, good things are going to happen.”

All this positive energy on the team helps bond the players together.

“Doing these things is making our culture grow stronger,” redshirt junior Hunter Eichhorn said.

With the positive energy, the team has been able to work better together and has improved their game.

Redshirt sophomore Nicolás Evangelio has taken a different approach to prepare for the spring season. Despite not knowing if upcoming tournaments are going to be held, his positive attitude has not changed.

“We have the competitive mentality that we are going to play in everything,” Evangelio said.

While preparing for the spring season, the team has played matches against one another. Evangelio enjoys playing against his teammates.

“I like competing against my teammates because you learn a lot watching them,” Evangelio said. “We are going to work hard every week and be ready in case we do have a tournament we have to go to.”

The team has also been doing activities outside of golf.

“We have been occupying our time well and not wasting time,” Eichhorn said. “We are doing a lot more reading.”

Even though the pandemic can be seen as a negative, the men’s golf team has seen it through a different perspective.

“While most people will use COVID as an excuse we kept our positive mindsets and that made us stronger as individuals.” Eichhorn said.

This story was written by Matthew Valente. He can be reached at matthew.valente@marquette.edu.