Weather concern for practice

Once the snow starts to fall and temperatures drop, most golfers in Kansas pack away their clubs and quit practicing their swings for a few months.

However, to maintain their status as an elite program, Washburn’s golfers must practice all year long. Finding ways to stay sharp in the off-season is the only way Washburn can compete with teams from warm weather states in the South.

Since every course throughout the Midwest closes around November, the golfers have to either take a trip halfway across the country or make due with what they have around the house.

“I’ll try to go down to Dallas two or three times to play a little bit in the off-season,” said senior Ryan Deutsch. “I didn’t last year and I struggled after having a couple months off.”

Nothing beats going outside and actually playing 18 holes, but those who stay in Kansas all year have a makeshift solution of their own to help stay on top of their game.

“This past year, there were five of us that lived together. We had a net and a camera set up in the garage,” said junior Matt Ewald. “Every once in a while you can go out and look at your swing and stay somewhat in a groove because obviously during the winter the Midwest is at a disadvantage compared to the Southern states.”

The team believes that its year round practice will pay off once the season starts Sept. 10 at a tournament in South Carolina. Last year, the Ichabods were a bit rusty in the tournament and left feeling disappointed about how they began the 2006 season.

“We were in the top two after the first round, but we struggled later and didn’t finish too well,” said Ewald. “We had a chip on our shoulder all year, so this time we want to do better.”

The practices, along with individual summer tournament success, will help the team pick up where it left off at the end of last season.

“It’s the start of the season, so we want to carry over what we did in the summer and hopefully start with a bang,” said Ewald.