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Embracing pandemic challenges, men’s golf stays focused on training

September 24, 2020

While most of the Bowdoin men’s golf team is off campus this fall, they are still preparing for potential tournaments in the spring and welcoming their one first-year team member into the fold.

During a normal year, the team practices on the golf course almost every day. Now, even though golfers have access to their local courses, it is difficult to practice as frequently.

Captain Matt McCarthy ’21 is taking advantage of the golf course in Biddeford, Maine, where he is currently living.

“I’m only able to go once a week to the golf course now. So it certainly limits my ability to actually do my sport to the best of my ability,” McCarthy said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.

Echoing McCarthy’s sentiments, Rylan McGinn ’23 discussed more challenges faced by golfers in the pandemic.

“I definitely think it’s a bit hard, especially for a sport like ours where you literally have to be on a golf course or at a facility with some area to practice or whatever it may be—at least a range—in order to get some worthwhile practice,” said McGinn in a Zoom interview with the Orient.

There are some benefits, however, to training off campus.

“I personally will be going down to Florida for part of the winter, so I will be able to practice a lot there, which will be a big advantage over usually being at school because winters in Maine don’t exactly provide for the best practice opportunities,” McGinn said.

Because most golfers won’t have an opportunity to train with others this fall, Head Coach Jay Durfee has been working to create an opportunity for the entire team to play together during winter break.

“He wanted to do a sort of ‘end-of-season recap,’ so I think that once things start to clear up—maybe near the end of the semester—the team might be trying to reconvene, including two of the seniors from last year that we were supposed to have in the spring,” McGinn said.

Liam Jachetta ’24 is the only first year joining the team. Although the returning golfers have not been able to meet him in person yet, they have gotten the opportunity to connect through texting and phone calls.

“It’s been a little easier [to welcome him] because I only have to focus on one individual, per se. But the means of getting him into the team culture—it’s not going to be hard once we are able to go to the golf course,” said McCarthy. “My plan this fall is to have me and my roommates, who are the seniors on our team—we have access to play at Brunswick Golf Club—so we’ll practice on the golf course. So we can at least put a face to a name, which I’m excited about.”

The tournament season is usually split into two-thirds of the tournaments occurring in the fall and one-third in the spring. The team hopes that if students return to campus in the spring than many of the fall tournaments would be rescheduled for the spring. McGinn believes that all these competitions will be key for Jachetta’s development and integration into the team.

“I just hope that even if classes are online, if we’re able to go back in the spring as a team at least he’d be able to experience what we do for normal practices and kind of get a gist of our normal weekly schedule and how we end up prepping and competing against ourselves for qualifying for tournaments,” said McGinn.

McCarthy is cautiously optimistic about the possibility of spring tournaments.

“I think there’s a chance that there’s something that could be done using social distancing guidelines,” said McCarthy. “Golf courses have been open, and it’s been one of the most popular activities, so I think there’s a real chance that they could work out something… [But] I think transportation and logistics make things harder.”

If there are tournaments in the spring, then the team’s goal will be to qualify for the NESCAC tournament, according to McCarthy. Until then, the team plans to stay focused on improving their skills through individual and small group practices.


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