Despite having their fall sports season canceled, the Wisconsin men’s golf team is still finding ways to get out on the course.
After a successful 2019 season in which the team even won the Musketeer Classic, the men’s golf team abruptly had their fall sports season canceled due to concerns about COVID-19. While the team isn’t participating in a season, they have continued to play in individual tournaments across the country.
“What we’ve been doing to stay competitive has been traveling around the country to play in different individual events,” senior Robbie Morway said. “This helps us stay competitive and play against some of the other best players in the country to keep our game fresh for, hopefully, a spring season.”
For Morway and fellow senior Sam Anderson, it’s difficult to have their fall season cut. Despite not having a fall season, the two have had a great amount of success in individual tournaments. At last week’s Windsong Invite in Maple Plain, MN, Anderson took home the hardware, shooting a 173 over three rounds.
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To play in these tournaments, it’s vital to stay healthy and avoid contracting COVID-19. Avoiding the virus has had a huge impact on both Anderson and Morway’s social life. The players’ daily routine involves a lot more team bonding activities and self-isolation.
“We are tested every other week through the athletic department that involves a 14-day quarantine if we test positive,” Anderson said. “In all honesty, I wouldn’t say we are in a lockdown, but we are limited to things that involve our team. So we aren’t doing too much and hanging out with the members of our team.”
“Coach tells us to control our environment as much as possible,” Morway added. “He wants us to be in the least amount of situations where we could test positive. We’re lowering our chances of testing positive, which increases our chances of playing in the spring, and allows us to compete in these tournaments.”
Another thing that has been altered due to COVID-19 has been how much time players can spend at the practice facility.
Because of COVID concerns, players haven’t been able to spend as much time at the facilities as they used to.
“So normally we would work out two to three days per week, but we’re not doing any workouts as a team throughout the fall,” Anderson said. “Our practice hours have also been reduced. Normally we would have 40 hours a week available for practice, but now we’re probably doing close to only 10 (hours) right now.”
Along with staying healthy, the athletic department needs to receive enough funding to have a spring 2020 season.
Football is the main factor and the return of that fall sport has a tremendous impact on whether the golf team will play in the spring. With the return of football, Morway is optimistic there will be a spring season. ‘
“If we end up playing in the spring, a lot of it will come down to football funding,” Morway said. Since golf is a non-contact sport that practices social distancing, I feel that if we have the funding then we’ll be able to play.”
“At this point, the fall is a wash. It’s too late to add a schedule but if the case number of student-athletes decreases, our chances of playing in the spring improve.” Anderson said.
While there are no fall competitions, players have been instructed to keep their scores after playing every practice round.
That way once the spring comes, coaches will have a better feel for who to select for each tournament based on how each player is playing.
“We’re doing a qualifying process right now for the spring,” Morway said. “We have to keep track of our averages, what we’ve been shooting so by the time we start playing in the spring, the coach will have a good feeling about who he wants to play in the lineup and who has been playing well.”
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As the spring season approaches, the men’s golf team will monitor cases not only across campus but also across the country. Hopefully, in their senior season, Anderson and Morway won’t be deprived of their final semester of eligibility.
This next week, you can catch Anderson and Morway competing in Arizona in another tournament to stay fresh. Hopefully, they’ll be competing for the Badgers sooner rather than later.