By Paige Carswell
Staff reporter

When the golf teams travel to Phoenix this weekend to compete in their first tournament for the spring season, they might be a little behind the game.

It’s not a lack of effort for the teams. It’s just a lack of practice.

Snowfall and ice in January and February have made practices for the players few and far between. The only place to practice when snow is on the ground is in White P.E.’s auxiliary room, and because other teams are scheduled to practice in there, they have shortened practices when they do get to take it over.

Jared Paul, business senior, said, “We don’t get much time to practice. It’s gonna hurt us but we gotta play through it. Most of the time we just try to play whenever we have a nice day.”

When the men do get to practice, it consists of hitting foam balls into the wall in order to keep their swings in shape.

The biggest problem, Paul said, is the lack of repetition for the different situations during the game. “It affects our touch and our feel for different shots,” he said.

Paul is from Mulvane, so he said he’s been used to the Kansas weather, but Raleigh Hughes, business sophomore, came to Southwestern from Texas. The transition of climates has been a challenge.

“Of course there is no snow and not very often is there howling winds in Texas,” said Hughes. “I didn’t really think that it was going to affect me that much, but the wind and snow here definitely does affect practice and playing. “

The two said players from southern states may have the advantage at the beginning of the season, but they’re hopeful it will even out by the end. In the meantime, they’re making due with what they have. Some members of the team took a trip to Dallas last weekend to get some playing time in.

“We figured with all the snow and rain that there would be no way that we would be able to get any practice in before Arizona on Saturday,” said Hughes. “It was just simply a weekend for getting some feel back and swinging the club a few times.”

Both golfers are hoping the weather clears up enough to allow them to practice, since they’ll be having in-state meets soon after Phoenix.

“There’s really nothing we can do to make up practice,” said Paul. “A lot of times we’ll play on weekends. We get those extra rounds in that we need.”

The national tournament is in May, but the two are positive about the individuals’ and teams’ end-of-season play, even with a lack of sunshine right now.

Hughes said, “I would sure hope that it doesn’t affect the end of my season. It might affect a little bit at the beginning but not at the end of the season. Hopefully the sun decides to come out and we can actually play a bit.”

Above all, he looks toward the end of the season to show what the team has had to fight through at the beginning.

“Playing in 30-plus mph winds sometimes is difficult, but it makes my team and I better players and gives us an advantage when we actually go into competition and see that weather,” he said.

Paige Carswell is a junior majoring in journalism. You may e-mail her at paige.carswell@sckans.edu.