The Bowdoin Men’s Golf team placed fifth of 12 at the Husson Invitational in late September, then came back the next week and tied for last place out of ten teams at the NESCAC Fall Qualifier. This inconsistent play characterized the team’s season.

“I would say this year we probably didn’t perform as well as expected,” captain Thomas Spagnola ’17 said. “Part of that is our inexperience, we’re a very young team. Not a lot of our players had seen the courses that we played on.”

Six of the 11 golfers are either first years or sophomores.

“In some ways [the team’s youth] was a weakness, but it was also a strength as well,” Spagnola said. “The young players definitely improved a lot over the course of the season, and I see them improving a lot in the future.”

“I think right away the four first years bought into our system, both on and off the course. We really got along well as a team. Even though we are graduating three players this year, our first years will be able to step into those roles,” he added.

The week after the NESCAC Qualifier, Bowdoin finished second of three teams at the CBB Championship, losing to Bates by six strokes and defeating Colby by 16. Bowdoin had defeated both teams at the Husson Invitational, but had finished behind Bates and tied for last with Colby at the NESCAC Qualifier. At the USM Invitational, the team’s final tournament of the year, Bowdoin finished sixth out of eight.

“I think despite our poor performance at NESCACs, we rebounded and played well in our last couple tournaments of the year,” Spagnola said.

One area where the team improved throughout the season was in course management—understanding how to play a round given the features of a particular course—an important part of tournament golf.

“It’s about knowing when you can take a risk, and knowing when to play it safe,” Spagnola said. “That’s something that our coaches really emphasized. When you’re out there, one mistake can lead to another, so we just worked hard on course management and minimizing those mistakes.”

Another good aspect of the team’s play was ball-striking ability, though the short game was a real struggle throughout the year.

“I would say we are very good drivers of the ball and have strong iron play, but we are notoriously bad putters, so that is something that we definitely need to work on in the off-season,” Spagnola said.

However, Maine winters make practicing golf in the off-season a difficult proposition, as cold and windy conditions quickly take over.

“I think we would improve more if we got better conditions for longer, but that’s just kind of the nature of New England golf and New England winters,” Spagnola said.

Despite the uneven season, Spagnola has high hopes for next year.

“Even though our results didn’t show it, we had a solid year. And we have a bright future-next year we’re hoping to make some noise.”