s Ithaca finally begins to thaw, the men’s golf team will escape the erratic weather and head south to Orlando, Fla., where it will face a solid Binghamton team tomorrow before getting some swings in over Spring Break.
The team has been anxiously awaiting the start of match play this spring. Because of weather, the team is forced to stay indoors much longer than most any other spring sports team.
That is why, head coach Matt Baughn said, this week will serve his golfers well.
“We’ve had frozen grass and haven’t really been able to get in much actual practice,” Baughn said. “This means a lot of guys have had some time off. So we’re just looking to get our feet wet this weekend. The match with Binghamton is actually more of a scrimmage to us. It’s a good chance to just get guys comfortable on the course.”
While Cornell will be dipping its toes in the water for the first time, Binghamton has been training in Orlando for nearly a week. Coming off a season where the Bearcats won the America East championship and boasted the top-3 golfers in the league, Binghamton is headed by reigning Coach of the Year Nick Lasky.
“I can’t have huge expectations this weekend,” Baughn said. “I mean, last year we played Rider in our first scrimmage, and they were a better team than Binghamton, yet we only lost by one stroke. So sure we can compete with them, but the point of this weekend is to just play it safe. I’m not looking at scores, I just want to see guys not do too much, and get comfortable with their short games and long shots. We can’t go out and try to hit the tough shots right off the bat. That’s not how it works.”
Baughn says the key of the upcoming week is to get everyone in the right mind set.
“Golf is such a mental game,” Baughn said. “We have a bunch of different personalities on this team and the key is to figure each one out and find out to push everyone’s buttons the right way. It’s hard to try forget bad shots, and move on, but that’s the name of golf. [Senior] Andy [Sliwa] has this problem and you just have to keep giving him positive reinforcement, show you have confidence, and don’t overanalyze too much. [Sophomore] Chad [Bernstein] also needs this mental attitude of self-confidence.”
Fortunately for the Red, a good mental attitude is all they need, as the talent and physical capabilities are already in place.
“[Sophomore] Bret [Perry] and [sophomore] Robbie [Fritz] are both very competitive. If you get Bret upset his competitiveness kicks in, and he plays better,” Baughn said. “This really bodes well for our team, especially if we can keep [junior] Greg Peterson’s consistency up. If we can shoot it in the mid 70s we’re going to win a lot of matches, and have a good shot at the Ivies.”