Men’s golf hope season and Taconic rejuvenate soon

The men’s golf spring season marks the last hurrah for the talented group of seniors at the core of what team member David Mihm ’03 describes as “one of the most talented teams in Williams history.” Mihm, Aaron Flink ’03, Will Sicks ’03 and Max Montgelas ’03 are looking to end their college careers on a high note by leading the team to its eighth straight appearance in the National Tournament and fifth consecutive Little Three Championship.

The four seniors will be backed up by a very solid group of first-years, sophomores and juniors, making the team one of the deepest in Div. III. If the putts fall at the right times and Head Coach Richard Pohle can use his 21 years of experience to correctly identify who is most likely to play well from week to week, the team stands an excellent chance of cracking the top 10 at the National Tournament.

No one on campus is more excited by the past week’s warm weather than the golfers, because each day of sun means that the beautiful Taconic Golf Course is one day closer to re-opening. Luckily, while Nordic skiers were still gliding along Taconic’s fairways, the men’s team got a chance to shake off some winter rust with a spring break trip down south.

All players enjoyed the chance to play premiere courses in warm weather. “Spring Break was a blast,” Bryan Harmon ’04 said. “We have to thank our alumni down there for making the trip possible.”

However, apart from a 21-0 dismantling of MIT at the PGA Country Club, the quality of golf was inconsistent. “Spring trip was a struggle this year,” Mihm said. “We had some good rounds sprinkled here and there but no one played consistently well.” Part of the team’s struggles can be attributed to the long winter layoff and unfamiliarity with the architectural style of southern courses.

While Taconic has few water hazards that come into play and out of bounds on only a handful of holes, many of the courses the team encountered over break incorporated large ponds or out of bounds on the majority of holes. Additionally, the type of grass used on putting greens differs regionally, making it difficult to read the break on certain putts.

Despite the somewhat disappointing results of their spring trip, the team has every reason to be confident coming into the season. Last fall was somewhat unlucky for the Ephs, and if the breaks even out the team should dominate a number of tournaments.

The squad’s seniors will provide invaluable experience and the leadership necessary to keep on track throughout the season. “We have to take things one shot at a time, one tournament at a time,” Mihm said. That sort of focus will enable the team to play through tough rounds and hit the kind of pressure shots that can make or break a season.

Practice at Taconic will be possible very soon, and none to early for some members of the team. “If Ned Wydysh [’04] doesn’t find a place to hit balls soon, he’s going to need psychological counseling,” Harmon said. The team’s first tournament of the year was canceled because of snow, so next Monday’s Paramountain Invitational will mark the beginning of the Eph’s season. For the four seniors, it will hopefully be the beginning of a final triumph to cap off four remarkable careers.

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