Golf teams excel with mental approach

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The men and women’s golf teams are both having an ace season, from junior Tim Crouch setting an individual record to the Lady Mocs taking sixth at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational.

“It was an outstanding performance that, honestly, isn’t done very often,” Coach Douglas Gordin said. “It was a great performance by [Crouch].”

Crouch won the Matlock Classic on Feb. 12 with a 16-under par 200, an individual scoring record. He was unaware of the previous record set, going into the tournament with a clear mind and wanting to play his best.

“Going into the tournament, I didn’t have any idea what the record was,” Crouch said. “I just wanted to do what I always do, and play to my full potential. After I finished the round, I knew I had set the record, so I feel honored.”

Gordin focuses a lot on the psychological aspect to better prepare his players, to prevent them from     overthinking things.

“We try to be as prepared as we can before the tournaments,” Gordin said. “I spend a lot of time to prepare them mentally by talking to them, spending a lot of time individually, talking to them about how to play golf, how to approach it, how to handle adversity. I try to get them to know how they’re going to react to a situation before it happens.”

Crouch says he took a few days off after the Matlock Classic to “reboot,” relax and make sure his “mind is in the right place.”

“It’s about getting from point A to point B without letting your mind get in the way,” Crouch said.

Women’s golf coach Robbie Davis is also big on the mentality of the golfer, encouraging the team to remain composed and to prepare for any situation in a game.

“Patience and trust make you a good golfer, so you learn that by experience,” Davis said.

The Lady Mocs placed sixth overall at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, with FSC’s top golfer, senior Amy Hodgkinson, tying senior Megan Kiley for tenth place.

The Mocs are ranked in the Top 5 in national golf rankings according to the Golf World/Nike Golf poll. Originally ranked in seventh in the fall season poll, the Mocs have jumped to No. 4 for the spring season.

“Florida Southern is Division II, but they’ve always had a great golf program,” Gordin said. “I never really looked at Florida Southern as a Division II school.”

On Feb. 26, the Armstrong Pirate Invitational was cancelled due to rain and weather conditions for the first time in the tournament’s 12-year history. This would have been a new tournament for the Mocs, and Gordin commented on how the team adjusts to new courses.

“I, at least, know the golf course, and usually some of the upperclassmen, so we know how to prepare for that,” Gordin said. “But when it’s a brand new golf course, the good thing now is you can look it up online, and at least get a sense for what it requires. But until you see it and you play it, you really don’t know. You have to prepare quickly once you play the practice round.”

The practice round allows the coach and players to play and learn the course or to review and re-familiarize them with the green.

“You prepare for success,” Davis said. “You plan on overcoming adversities. Preparing beforehand and to do well alleviates the bad.”

The men’s team has won 12 National Championships, the most of any sport at FSC.

“We hope to continue that, and add to that total, in terms of National Championships” Gordin said. “It’s a source of pride for the school, and for the golfers that go through the program. We certainly hope to continue that.”

The men’s team looks to make its mark at the 2013 Southeastern Collegiate in Valdosta, GA at 8 a.m. this week while the Lady Mocs will take on the University of Cincinnati Spring Invitational March 22-24 at 8 a.m. in Dade City.

The NCAA Division II South Super Regional will be played in Lakeland at Lone Palm Golf Course May 5-7. Both Davis and Gordin have great confidence in the teams.

“We feel very good about playing well on our home course and moving on to the National Championships,” Davis said. “We’re here to win.”

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