Over the past two days, the Union golf team competed in Southeast CC’s golf tournament in Beatrice. While everyone on the team played decently, the real highlight of the tournament was the exceptional turnout of Union students.
It seemed as though hundreds of students, maybe thousands, followed each and every Union golfer. Said Athletic Director and Head Coach Ric Nicklaus, “I wasn’t sure if some of the new guys could handle it, these crowds tend to have quite an effect on the mental game. I figured Tyler [Woods] would play at least a stroke worse today.”
I counted roughly 1,200 Union fans gathering around the final green, which was quite interesting, given that Union doesn’t even have 1200 students. Granted, golf is actually one of the sports Union is more competitive at, but even so, no one could have possibly expected these crowds.
The tournament’s director and course professional, who asked to remain anonymous, said that they “would no longer be inviting Union. The fans were rowdy, tore up our course, and quite frankly didn’t have a clue what was going on.”
On an unrelated note, senior golfer Justin Spieth (who couldn’t play in this tournament due to conflicts) seemed to be near every green on the second day of the tournament, shouting “Mashed Potatoes!” after every shot. (Seriously. Even putts.)
Sophomore Max McCord (who hits the ball so far that he routinely gets asked to take drug tests mid round) loved the support he got from the fans. Said McCord, “It motivated me to do my absolute best.”
Seniors Paul Mickelson and Ryan McIlroy said the whole day was “straight out of a Barstool Sports Instagram story.” McIlroy agreed with my earlier claim of competitiveness, saying “it’s fantastic to see us finally getting recognition. I thought most people didn’t know we had a golf team, but compared to other sports we tend to be at least almost competitive.”
Junior Ashton Furyk had perhaps the most memorable quotes of the tournament. “Why are these people here to watch this circus?” “You guys might want to back up for this one” were two of his best, but the one that takes the cake was when he muttered “Sure hope I don’t shank this into the crowd” and then proceeded to shank it directly into the crowd.
The next tournament is at Wilderness Ridge this coming Friday. Never fear, Union fans; Coach Nicklaus has already informed the course of the potential crowds and they have made the necessary preparations. There will be vendors, plenty of directional signs (we promise you won’t get hit by too many more golf balls), and tournament officials holding quiet signs so you know when you probably shouldn’t be yelling.
The real problem, however, is going to be Union’s home tournament, Friday April 13th starting at 1:00 PM CST. Holmes Lake Golf Course has already begun building temporary structures for fans, broadcasters and cameramen. Still, they worry it won’t be enough.
I talked to Scott Carlson, the course professional at Holmes, and he seemed nervous about the tournament. “We’re in uncharted territory here. We’re going to have to turn the driving range into a parking lot, and pray that the lake freezes over so we can use that for parking as well. I don’t think the state of Nebraska has enough quiet signs for us, so we’re having to make our own. And we only have one bathroom out on the whole course!”
So if you haven’t already jumped on the golf bandwagon (which is nearly impossible given the tournament attendance in Beatrice), you definitely should. But be sure to get there early. Parking is going to be a nightmare.
Tyler Dean is a junior studying business administration.