Both the men’s and the women’s golf teams are on the road to warmer cities this spring break in order to prepare for the upcoming spring season.
Both teams are coming into 2015 having had a strong fall season. After winning the Princeton Invitational last October, the women’s team is currently ranked No. 65 in the nation. The men’s team is also building off of its fall season. Ranked first in the Ivy League, the Bulldogs also boast four of the top 10 individual players in the Ivy League. Although the spring season officially starts on March 11 for the women’s team and March 21 for the men’s, both teams will travel during spring break to snowless cities in order to prepare for their upcoming tournaments.
“Since spring is a condensed and intense season, the greatest challenge is hitting the ground running,” men’s golf captain Will Davenport ’15 said. “I think the structure of our spring break trip is such that we will be as prepared as possible to dive into competition again.”
For spring break, the men’s team is headed to Georgia, where they will spend several days practicing at Sea Island, which Davenport said is one of the best practice facilities in the country. Following their stop at Sea Island, the Bulldogs will play in one of their most competitive tournaments of the season at Reynolds Plantation and will face the nation’s toughest competition, Davenport said.
The women’s team will also migrate to warmer climates. The Bulldogs will be training in Southern California for the first week of spring break and will conclude their time there with a Golfweek-ranked match against San Diego State University at Torrey Pines. Afterwards, they will head to Utah to compete at the Brigham Young University Entrada Classic.
“As you can tell, it’ll be really busy for us since we will be thrown full force into golfing mode, especially after the long winter we’ve been getting,” women’s golf captain Marika Liu ’15 said.
Since the end of the fall season, the Elis have had to practice indoors due to weather conditions. In addition to strength training three times a week, the Elis have also been working with a newly acquired simulator.
Called the TrackMan, the device uses radar technology to analyze precision swings and ball flight. Liu said the TrackMan allows players to focus on maintaining the feel and executing technical issues that they might have wanted to work on even after the fall season.
Despite not being able to practice out on the course, both teams are confident in their abilities and are looking forward to the start of the spring season.
“We’re ranked much higher than any other Ivy League team,” Will Bernstein ’18 said. “If we keep up what we did in the fall season, we could do big things in the spring.”
Head coach for the men’s team, Colin Sheehan ’97, said he does not have an established roster for this season. He added that his roster has so much depth that it is impossible to know which player will make an impact on a weekly basis, which “is a wonderful position to be in.”
Head coach for the women’s team Chawwadee Rompothong ’00 also has high hopes for this season. Although Rompothong said she would love to win the Ivy championship, her ultimate goal for the team is to qualify for the NCAA National Championship, which would require the Bulldogs to win the Ivies and then place in the top eight at Regionals.
Although the women’s team shows a strong performance all around, one of their key players during the fall season, Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17, dislocated her kneecap playing intramural basketball. She is currently undergoing physical therapy but might be able to come back by the end of March or early April, according to Rompothong.
“I am relying on Sara Garmezy [’17] and Caroline Rouse [’15] to step up their game like they have done in the past to help fill the void of Sandy,” Rompothong said.
Despite their current strong standings, both teams are mindful of their potential adversaries. Both the men’s and the women’s team have their eye on rival Harvard, which is currently placed second in both the men’s and women’s Ivy rankings.
Thomas Greenhalgh ’15 said Harvard has good depth to their squad, and that the team would need to be wary. He added that although the Bulldogs should respect all teams, the team that will be able to cause them the most stress is Harvard.
Rompothong added that for the women’s league, Harvard would also be a team to watch, but that Columbia and Princeton could be in the hunt as well.
“Traditionally, Harvard has been one of our biggest rivals,” Liu said. “While Boston’s had 104 inches of snow, we look to break records in other ways this semester.”
There are 11 members listed on the women’s golf roster and 10 on the men’s roster.
Correction: March 5
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Yale women’s golf team is ranked second in the Ivy League behind Harvard. It also incorrectly said Harvard is currently placed first in the women’s Ivy rankings. In fact, both the men’s and women’s teams at Harvard are ranked second.