Golf season: MTU club having fun on links

Provided photo MTU golf club members (from left), Job Mayer, Tyler Hartmann, Adam Krueger, Daniel Donovan and Harrison Woeffel pose before playing at Glen Erin Golf Course in Janesville, Wisconsin, last weekend.

HOUGHTON — While it might not feel like it yet, spring just around the corner in the Copper Country, which means the approach of golf season.

Michigan Tech senior mechanical engineering major Daniel Donovan serves as president of Michigan Tech’s co-ed golf club. He says a main objective for the club is to network between players and friends of the sport.

“As a club at Tech, golf is (difficult because) we’re in a pretty wintery climate,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of us, but what we’ve tried to do is get golfers connected with one another at Tech. The biggest issue that a lot of us have is that we just can’t find anyone to play golf with.

“We get to play for free in the fall (because) it’s included in our tuition at Portage (Lake Golf Course). One of our main goals in the club is to network and get (players) connected with each other so we’re not always playing by ourselves.”

The club team is also composed of competitive players who try out in a nine-hole session to compete in the National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCGA) for Spring and Fall tournaments each year. Most recently, club members competed in a tournament in Wisconsin.

“Then we also have the competitive side (for those) who competed in high school or just want to try something new,” Donovan said. “We hold tryout rounds (then) we take the top eight (players) or whoever shoots the best. We go down and play in the NCGA.

“We actually just got back from our last tournament all the way down in Janesville, Wisconsin. If you want to compete, we have the option to do that, most (notably) University of Wisconsin schools. Considering the conditions, we were playing in overcast and high winds, (so) we were more focused on staying warm, but it was a great time and, overall, it was a good trip.”

Donovan stressed that there were no additional costs to be a member of the club.

“It’s not an additional fee and you don’t have to pay extra to be a part of the club and to utilize it,” said Donovan. “Just having that course there (allows) us to go out and play (and) form that  community of golfers.”

Team-building moments come for the team in the form of long car rides to and from tournaments as they get out and enjoy the game.

“Another big thing with us is that we know each other very well,” Donovan said. “We’re all a pretty close-knit group of guys,” said Donovan. “Whenever we drive somewhere, it’s usually a (long) car ride in a 15-passenger van, so we always have a good time.

“We all get out and enjoy the game of golf. I wouldn’t say that we’re all Division I or II athletes or as good as it, but we joined the club because we enjoy it and spend our time doing it.”

Donovan reflected on how he has seen the club grow and change since his freshman year.

“I’ve enjoyed my time (and) have gotten to see it change (with) seeing some of the seniors graduate and the new freshman come up,” he said. “(I also) personally see it, not only from a member side but from a president side, (and also) working with the USG.

“Now i’m in the transition mode of teaching a sophomore who’s going to be taking over for me because I’ve only got next fall. I’m hoping they’ll keep it going after me. I’ve gotten to see it grow for general (players) who just want to be part of that group to have someone to play with, which I’ve really enjoyed.”

Donovan has a big vision for what Michigan Tech golf can become and is in the process of discussing men’s and women’s varsity golf teams at Michigan Tech.

“I see it as a stepping stone as well,” he said. “My dream (and) goal was to possibly have a full time varsity mens’ and womens’ athletic sports team, so having the course is a big benefit to try to draw golfers here (to) hopefully maybe turn into that varsity sport as well.

“I’m always trying to recruit passively. I just try to sell the club (by saying) that (players) can still compete. This is a great school. I always try to recruit for the club in general. I’ve also been in contact with Mark Maroste, who’s the head pro. We had a meeting with the athletic director just talking about the possibility of what it could take or what we would look at for a mens and womens varsity team.”

The club will be competing in two weeks at Whistling Straits, a host for a past PGA Championship and where the Ryder Cup will be next year.

“We’re going to play a tournament in two weeks at Whistling Straits, so that’s a big name for golfers so we’re pretty excited about that,” said Donovan. “It’s is definitely a great opportunity for anyone who loves the game of golf.”