NDSU men’s golf refines game this summer ahead of new season

The NDSU men’s golf team is returning in full force, hoping to continue its success from last season.

The Bison begin their season at the Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run Golf Club in Bark River, Mich. on Sunday, Sep. 4.

The summer was a busy season for the Herd, who spent it competing at qualifying and amateur events.

“For a lot of sports, the summer is kind of the offseason,” said junior Jack Johnson. “We have big summer events that we try to play or qualify for. The Bison are playing in a lot of summer tournaments, and we had some really good finishers in both of them.”

Johnson led his team in two tournaments last season, as well as winning the dual match with the University of North Dakota and tying for 13th in the K-State Wildcat Invitational.

The opportunity to play in the summer months helps players transition into the season quickly.

“It’s extremely important,” said senior Nate Deziel, on playing in the summer. “Coming off a good summer schedule you play, you can just roll right into the season. It’s a very quick turnover, right after summer you go right into school and start practice.”

The players often use their “offseason” to see their swing coaches and refine their game.

“Summer is the time I’m making those swing changes,” Johnson said. “And changes in my game, so when I get here it’s ready to go.”

The changes in the players’ games are not major but they help keep the scores low.

“It’s never anything huge,” Deziel said. “It is going to be something in our swing that we forget or are not always doing. We can make those adjustments and see if the ball flight is the same and we are hitting the shots we want to hit outside.”

Deziel won the Summit League Championship last season shooting a 13-under 203, a tournament record, and was awarded Most Valuable Player honors in the tournament. He finished the NCAA Division 1 West Regional tournament tied for 58th, shooting a five-over 221.

Deziel said he wants to get another chance to improve his score at the tournament for himself and for his team. The Bison finished second in the Summit League Championship shooting an 851, losing by one stroke to the Denver University Pioneers with an 850.

“We were that close last year,” Deziel said. “I just saw it in the guys’ eyes it was a tough beat there. But we have got this year to go out prove it.”

He said he would love to see his team on the championship banners hanging up in the team’s indoor golf practice area.

One thing the team learned coming off last season, is the importance of every single shot.

“Every shot matters,” Johnson said. “I battled quite a bit of adversity in the fall, I wasn’t seeing the results of some things I wanted to. Any one of us can say ‘I a missed shot there at that conference championship’, but we’re all going to be using that as fuel to work even harder this year.”

Head coach, Steve Kennedy, said his team had a lot of success in the summer events and are ready for the upcoming season.

“I think they’re ready to go this fall,” Kennedy said. “From what I have seen from them in the summer and what I know of them in the past, they’re ready to compete.”

He said the team has a lot of talent on the roster and it’s going to be tough to make the “traveling five”.

The defeats the team suffered last season will have a tremendous impact on the team’s drive in the upcoming year.

“Last year we experienced some tough losses,” Kennedy said. “I think that has benefitted us this year and brought us closer.”

The Bison will remain mostly the same but have acquired some talent in addition to the current roster. Ahead of the season, Kennedy recruited Jake Skarperud from Shanley High School in Fargo. He is an all-around player and will be an asset to the team, Kennedy said.

“Jake is the type of kid I think that can step in right away and gain a spot,” Kennedy said. “I think as he is here longer, he can get stronger, and he will even get better than he is right now. Jake doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses in his game. He just fits in with our guys so well.”

The Bison men will be in action locally at Oxbow Country Club in Oxbow, N.D. on September 6th & 7th in the NDSU Fall Invitational.

Leave a Reply