After five months away from the course, the Minnesota State Women’s Golf team is back in action. The Mavericks will make their way to St. Joseph for the Holiday Inn Express Missouri West Invite on Monday and Tuesday.
The last time we saw the Mavs take the course in a competitive tournament was at the NCAA Super Region Preview back in October 2022. The team turned in a third-place finish at the tournament held at the Grand Falls Golf Resort in Larchwood, Iowa.
Although that was the last time the team got to compete against other schools, apart from the recent SMSU Spring Invitationals that took place on Mar. 7 and Mar. 8, there has been no shortage of intense competition for the camp since the installment of the new golf facility on campus.
The opening day of the new facility was on Jan. 27, but both the men and women were able to get into the facility to hit balls way back in November. This gave them an opportunity to continue working on their game while the winter months were kicking in.
“Building this new facility, we’ve never had anything like this on campus before. We’re always just hitting balls into a net in a gym with no flight and no swing data. So from October to before the spring invitational being able to have our women’s team in there practicing their short game, putting and all the other clubs throughout their bag made a big difference,” said head coach Alex Schmitz.
With the tournament only a few days away, Schmitz highlighted the mental aspect of the game as something that the group will be striving to get back.
“Staying in a competitive mindset is really hard to do. I’ll go back to that facility, they’ve stayed competitive. There are mini games and closest to the pin that they play against each other, so keeping a competitive mindset throughout the winter and then stepping onto a golf course knowing I competed to a certain degree. It wasn’t against this team or that team but it was competing against my teammates, keeping with that competitive mindset to a point where they feel comfortable on the golf course competing again.” Schmitz said.
Schmitz believes the difference in the team’s competitive fervor is night and day compared to a year ago, due to the work they’ve been able to put in throughout the winter.
“Last year being in the gym and hitting off of a mat, the competitive mindset wasn’t there. All we’re doing is hitting balls into a net,” said Schmitz.
The Mavs will look to use their length to their advantage at the St. Joseph Country Club course. This course allows teams with length to use it in their favor by shortening up a lot of the holes.
One thing that Schmitz sees as a potential stumbling block for his squad is their short game. “The one thing that scares me a little bit, if there’s anything, is our short game. We can work a little bit on short game in there, but it’s not the same, because the short game is all about feel,” said Schmitz.
The team will travel to St. Joseph Saturday and will get the chance to hit some balls before having their practice round Sunday. The Mavs plan on using that time to shake off some cobwebs when it comes to their short game and get a feel for the green before going into the tournament all guns blazing.
The Mavs head into the tournament with the same top five they had throughout the fall. Schmitz is looking forward to seeing his freshman play well and his leaders to pick up where they left off. The team hopes that the effort that they’ve put in throughout the winter asserts itself on the golf course.
Write to Mohamed Warsame at Mohamed.Warsame@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: The MSU Women’s Golf team travels to Missouri next week for the Holiday Inn Express Mo. West Invite. (File photo)