After a long offseason and a quiet summer, the men’s golf team is back and reunited for the fall 2020 season. While golf is an individual sport by nature, the Bulldogs expressed the importance of team camaraderie.
The team will be playing mostly in an all-five format this season. In this format, the team competes with five players and drops the worst score, only counting the sum of the four best scores.
“We all feed off each other playing in these all-five formats,” said senior Davis Thompson. “Attitude is everything in these formats and we need all guys staying positive and encouraging each other.”
Thompson explained how they feed off each other’s momentum, saying that if he sees his teammates making birdies, then he has the confidence to make birdies himself.
While new to the program, transfer sophomore Eli Scott still understands the importance of Georgia’s team atmosphere, and he says chemistry is one of the biggest things.
“If we can get as close as we can with each other and bond, then we can take that positive energy to the course,” Scott said.
This chemistry and mentality is built in practice. Head coach Chris Haack stays adamant about reinforcing this team atmosphere for the season through different strategies. He has the five players competing in the tournament practice against the other five in order to keep everyone involved.
His tactics mimic those that his players will see in tournaments across their college careers and help them get used to the team-oriented atmosphere.
“When you're playing with your teammates, they can read your body language,” Haack said. “I just really want them to stay in the present. Don’t get down in the dumps and bounce back when there is ever a little adversity. I think if we can do that, it will be a major milestone for us.”
Before they returned to Georgia for the start of the school year and the season, some of the team had the opportunity to see each other in tournaments this past summer. They played against each other in notable amateur events including the U.S. Amateur Championship in Bandon, Oregon.
Team leaders such as Thompson made an effort to communicate with his teammates off the course as well. Aside from mandatory Zoom calls, Thompson took the time to call his teammates regularly throughout the week to keep in touch.
Thompson, who is returning from his first U.S. Open, will need to adjust back down to the collegiate level and team atmosphere. Haack seems to have confidence that he will have a smooth transition back.
“He’s got a great opportunity to use our platform and to work on those things [from the US Open],” Haack said. “He’s a great leader. He’s very humble. He’s just one of the boys.”
Georgia is currently in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the Blessing Collegiate Invitational. The Bulldogs teed off at 1 p.m. on Monday and are currently in 13th place. Georgia tees off Tuesday at 10:54 a.m. with the same lineup of Scott, Thompson, senior Will Chandler, sophomore Trent Phillips and redshirt freshman Nicolas Cassidy.