Young Wildcat golfers adapt to challenges, look toward season

Precaution+and+wide-open+courses+allow+Wildcat+golf+to+maintain+a+decently+normal+training+schedule

Maddie Loverich

Precaution and wide-open courses allow Wildcat golf to maintain a decently normal training schedule

JJ Anderson, Staff Writer

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As a naturally socially-distanced sport, golf was hardly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore, Linfield’s golf programs didn’t skip a beat this past summer in preparation for the upcoming spring season. Luckily for this year’s golfers, they’re still able to travel throughout the region to practice at different golf courses.

A normal golf season is split into the fall and the spring: 30% of competition being in the fall and the other 70% in the spring. However, this year the golfers will be playing into November, as opposed to the usual end date in early October. 

Looking forward to the spring season, program director and head men’s golf coach Mitchell Wilson still isn’t sure what the plan will be. Whether or not tournament formats will be altered, Wilson is taking the precautionary measures to prepare his golfers for whatever the future holds.

Earlier this fall, with the raging forest fires in the Pacific Northwest, the Wildcat golfers were forced to take a two-week hiatus from the game. With the Air Quality Index exceeding 600, golfers were even prohibited from using the indoor golf simulators at their home course, Michelbook Country Club, and the Rutschman Fieldhouse here on campus. 

For perspective, when the air quality exceeds 150, the Air Quality Index recommends that civilians stay indoors and limit outdoor exposure. The AQI measures the pollution and cleanliness of the air on a scale of 0-500. Once exceeding 500, it is deemed “hazardous.”

“At that time, the athlete’s health was our number one priority,” Wilson said. 

Both teams are relatively young going into the spring season. The women’s team has one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen, while the men’s team has four sophomores and four freshmen. However, Wilson doesn’t want to utilize the “too young” excuse. 

“The mental side is the biggest part of the game,” Wilson said. As for having senior leadership, “[The freshman] don’t have the luxury of having upperclassmen,” Wilson added. 

Discussing the men’s freshman class, Wilson said, “This is the closest group of newcomers I’ve ever seen. I’m really excited to watch them play.”

At the moment, a spring schedule has yet to be announced for the 2021 season. The Northwest Conference will announce the plan as the pandemic situation develops, but rumors suggest non-contact sports, such as golf, are likely to compete in the spring. “I’m excited to get this spring back,” Wilson said.