Golfers warm up in Florida

by Laura Dillavou

While some students braved the frigid temperatures of the north,the men’s golf team traveled to sunny Orlando, Fla., to hit thelinks and compete against some of the best Division II schools inthe nation.

Six Simpson golfers, along with coach Larry Shoop, spent theweek getting back in the swing of things and gearing up for theirspring season, which opens on March 26 in Pella at the CentralDutch Classic.

“The trip was wonderful. It was a great opportunity to work onour skills. The course was an excellent practice facility for us,”said Shoop. “The trip was very beneficial in that it will prepareus well for the upcoming season.”

While the boys enjoyed temperatures in the 70s, it wasn’t allplay for them. Practicing every day and competing in a 36-holetournament was the main focus of the trip.

The golfers were not used to such a long and rigorous day ofplay.

“Thirty-six holes is a lot of walking in a day. We startedplaying at 8 a.m. and finished around 6 p.m. or so. It wasbasically golf from morning until dark,” said senior MattZeller.

Simpson College was the only Division III representative at thetournament. Competing against Division II schools from Kentucky,Florida and Minnesota put the Storm up against some of theirtoughest competition yet.

“We didn’t do so well in the tournament, but any competition isgood competition. It’s kinda fun to play against those biggerschools,” said junior Erik Keairnes.

“We knew they were bigger, better schools. We didn’t goexpecting to win, but we did compete,” said Zeller.

The Storm fared well, considering the competition.

Freshman Eric Adams tied for 20th place in the tourney, andZeller was the overall low scorer of the week. Shoop was proud ofthe way his team representatives played and was encouraged by whathe saw over the week.

“We did a strength and conditioning program this year for thefirst time and we are already yielding results from that. It looksgood so far,” said Shoop. “The things I saw from Adams, Zeller andthe other guys give me a good feeling about this spring.”

Junior Mike Martin, the 2003 conference MVP and team captain, isalso expected to be a strong link for the Storm.

When the team looks to the future, its goals reflect thepositive attitude that abounds from its experience thus far.

“It is hard to say how we will do, but I know we will improvefrom last fall. There is a different team chemistry and it is areally good group of guys. We get along well and it’s fun,” saidZeller.

“Winning the conference would be great. I want to try and helpother guys on the team as well as do well myself. Hopefully, theolder guys will step up and take leadership positions to help outour team,” said Keairnes.

Shoop and his team know that despite snow and cold weather, themen’s golf team is warming up to the prospect of big wins thisspring.