Belles golf team not deterred by postponement of fall season
Mannion McGinley | Monday, August 17, 2020
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association announced the postponement of the fall sports season July 30. The news was nothing if not disappointing to Saint Mary’s golf head coach Kimberly Moore.
“Obviously, I was disappointed about the postponement of our fall season,” Moore said in an email. “However, I was most disappointed in the fact that our seniors were not going to get the normal full season that they were hoping for. I do think most of the players saw this coming, as trends started heading in the wrong direction, and they were hearing of other teams and conferences canceling or postponing their seasons.”
Those two seniors are Hunter Kehoe and Summer Stillson, who led the team last season both on and off the fairway, ranking first and second respectively in scoring for the Belles. Kehoe posted a scoring average of 75.83, and Stillson had 78.58.
Moore worried for the underclassmen’s access to success as well.
“I think the biggest challenge is not getting that experience gained by competing,” she said. “Having competitions in golf is so important in the growing aspect of a player’s game. There are so many things, both mentally and physically, that you gain by just competing. Plus, our underclassmen really haven’t had that normal opportunity to compete in college, which is another aspect that can take getting used to. We will just have to try and mimic the feel of competition as much as we can during our fall practices.”
Despite the disappointment and the unease that comes with not being able to play, Moore aimed to keep morale up.
“I tried to make conversations with the team more informative because everyone was definitely wondering what was going on and what was going to happen to us,” she said. “Once we knew we wouldn’t be having any fall competitions I tried to have conversations to keep up the morale and help the team stay positive and focused on what we can do.”
Though the spring “was definitely not what anyone expected,” Moore said the players lucked out by escaping some of the limitations of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It definitely put a hindrance on the players’ competition opportunities,” she said. “However, the summer was still a great opportunity for our players to get out and play as much golf as they could. Golf has been one of those sports that has been the easiest to social distance and stay safe. Early in the summer, some states did not have golf courses open, which hurt my players’ opportunity to practice. However, most golf courses opened up, and there was a lot of ability to get good training over the summer months. Toward the middle of the summer, most states started their amateur events, which some of my players took advantage of. It really did not feel any different than normal summer months because most golf operations were fully open, and golf was one of the things that most people could be doing during this pandemic.”
Moore and her team are hoping to continue training through this fall as best they can, much like this summer.
“The plan for this fall is still a little uncertain, but if everything goes to plan, we would like to have practice and work on our games to be as prepared as we can be going into a now even more important spring season. Our practices would definitely be limited during the week, but we should be able to have opportunities to work together to better our games and get us as prepared as we can be going into the winter months.”
What is certain, though, is the team’s positive spirit and the relationship between the members, she said.
“Right now, it has been extremely important to get together and build that camaraderie when we can,” Moore said. “We are trying to plan more team dinners and gatherings as much as we can until we can get together more regularly during practice. I think the biggest thing they are doing right now, outside of sport, is getting acclimated to all of these changes around what they have to do during their typical day. Going to class, working out, studying, eating, socializing is all a little different right now, so they are really going through these changes together and learning how to manage successfully.”