Unplayable: A college golfer’s take on the spring golf season in the Northeast

By: Marin Dremock

On Saturday, March 26, 2022, I played in a collegiate golf tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pa. Naturally, it’s March in Pennsylvania, so the weather was bound to be unpredictable. But what I and the other players in the field witnessed that day was something extraordinary.

I checked the forecast before dressing for the tournament, so I donned an Under Armour thermal, two pullover layers, a sweatshirt and a pair of leggings under my golf pants. On the feet, I sported some maroon and black patterned knit socks. The 40-degree weather also called for an EU beanie.

The day started off as expected. It’s always windy in Fleetwood, so I expected some constant breeze with stronger gusts here and there. The forecast called for cloudy and windy conditions with a slight chance of rain from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. On the driving range, we braved the wind and stayed bundled as we warmed up our golf swings while also attempting to warm up our bodies.

On the putting green, around 11:40 a.m. or so, it began to rain. We hustled to get our golf clubs covered and rain jackets secured. The rain stopped after a few minutes but then started again as the wind began to pick up. It instantly felt 10 degrees colder.

My group eventually teed off, luckily during a break between wind gusts and rain drops. However, on the first green, the wind and rain started their shenanigans again. From this moment on, it genuinely felt like every hole we played, different weather conditions greeted us at the tee. The second hole was accompanied by some sunlight. The third hole was windy and sunny.

But then came the fourth hole. We were hit with the strangest weather conditions I have ever encountered on the golf course. It began to sleet.

Waltonian | The Waltonian Source: Marin Dremock/The Waltonian

The freezing rain pelted the players on the course, hindering our eyesight, ball flight and everything in between. Our hats and hoods were not enough, as we tried to shield our eyes and skin from the stinging feeling of drops of sleet on our cheeks.

This trend continued for the rest of the round. So, the mantra of the day was “just keep truckin’ along.” The tournament was scheduled, and the tournament was played. But I have a couple of grievances that I need to air out.

I’m not going to complain about the weather. Like I said, March in Pennsylvania is utterly unpredictable. But the fact that college golf’s championship season must be held in the spring of the Northeast? A bit sad.

The MAC Conference holds their golf championship at the end of April/beginning of May. That means that most of the season is played in 40 or low 50-degree weather.

When I tossed it around in my mind, it made some sense. For first years, it’s easier to have a fall golf season to prepare yourself for the championship in the spring. But even so, if you decide to play college golf, you’re most likely familiar with the tournament competitiveness of golf anyway. That argument is logical, but perhaps not weighty.

A MAC Championship in the fall would make things a bit more bearable. There isn’t the pressure of trying to get back into the golf groove and performing at the top of your game just after taking the winter off. (Trust me, not everyone gets the chance to spend their winter break on golf courses in Florida or California.) This doesn’t even include the added pressure of performing well in adverse weather conditions.

But despite the local situations that I’ve been mentioning, college golfers deserve better. These athletes are already overwhelmed with the tasks of being athletes, working toward a college education and managing jobs and other responsibilities. If I play in a golf tournament where I’m battered by wind, rain and ice and get sick as a result of it, my performance not only on the course but in the classroom has completely diminished.

I don’t have many more words to describe both my experience on that Saturday tournament or my feelings toward spring golf. So I shall let the words of my wonderful roommate take over: I played 18 holes that Saturday, but in the end, I felt like I got played…by Mother Nature.

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