Tournament golf can either be unbelievably fun or unbelievably terrible to play. It seems that for three consecutive years now, tournament weekend at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, Pennsylvania has been something that we as the Mercyhurst golf teams do not look forward to. This year especially, the weekend brought out a lot of emotion on our teams for many reasons.
The practice round was the beginning to a rough weekend. Collegiate tournaments can bring a great deal of money to a golf course - between food, gear, and entry fees, teams are dropping hundreds of dollars to be present at these tournaments. For a program that does not have a lot of money, tournaments are the reason that teams can stay alive and funded. This was especially true for the program at WCU, as told by one of the female members of the team. This being said, the head coach at WCU brought in 24 total teams - 12 men and 12 women. Each team brought five players, therefore a total of 120 players were on the 18 hole course at one time. That averages to about 6.6 players a hole, which means a group and a half on every hole at one time. For someone who does not understand tournament golf - that is a lot of players on one hole at a time, which means a lot of waiting around for group ahead of you to get out of the way. With that many players on the course, it was obvious that the rounds would be slow - which lead to our six hour practice round. The average round of golf takes about four hours.
After a 20 minute wait during the practice around, the Mercyhurst Women's Golf team decided to have some fun on the tee box
Day 1 was no match for the practice round. With winds maxing out around 28mph, it was nearly impossible to keep the ball straight, let alone in play. The round took about seven hours and ended up being suspended for darkness, which meant that nearly half of the field would have to complete their rounds the next morning. The next morning, after serious confusion about tournament start times, the suspended round was completed and round two was in play. Although the winds were only at 20mph, the course was still tough - especially for the female competitors. Penn Oaks - which is both narrow and long, needs the accuracy of many female players and the yardage of the males. Combine their games and the course is significantly easier, but for everyone else, it's tough. Day 2 was just as long as day one, and everyone was feeling the difficulty of the course. Medalists on both the male and female sides had high scores - the average female medalist winning with two to three over, while this tournaments medalist won at a whopping +14. Ultimately, the tournament was slow, difficult, and mentally frustrating.
Women's Team pre-tournament pep talk and prayers - one of the few traditions that we as a team take unbelievably serious.
Although the weekend was unbelievably terrible to endure, there were positives. We as a team always get closer on this trip. It is a seven hour bus trip to get to the tournament, with the bus holding both the men's and women's teams from both Mercyhurst and Gannon. It is always a lot of fun to spend time with three other teams that are ready to play a long round of golf and complain about it afterwards. The tournament is always terrible, but the experience and memories always make for a closer team and a funny story.
Hole 3 green view at Penn Oaks Golf Course
For more information about the Mercyhurst golf teams, visit http://hurstathletics.com/index.aspx?path=wgolf or https://twitter.com/Laker_Golf