Irish golf ready to put disappointing 2022-23 behind them
Ryan Eastland | Thursday, August 31, 2023
As the fall semester kicks off, both the men’s and women’s golf teams will be back in action during the first week of September. The ladies tee off their season at Purdue’s Boilermaker Classic on Monday. The men will also tee off Monday but at Michigan State’s Folds of Honor Collegiate. While the women’s team will not play in South Bend during the fall slate, the men will visit Warren Golf Course on Oct. 1-2 for the Fighting Irish Classic.
Both teams, however, will have a unique opportunity to hit the links abroad. The teams will make a trip to Scotland to play at St. Andrews Links. One of the oldest courses in the world, it often hosts The Open Championship.
“It is the home of golf, and for us to be able to play at the most iconic and probably best golf course in the world, [it] speaks volumes for Notre Dame golf,” said men’s head coach John Handrigan. The teams will take on St. Andrews from Oct. 23-25.
A new season also means new faces for each team. Both teams will introduce three freshmen this year. For the men’s team, that’s Christopher Bagnall (Pretoria, South Africa), Jacob Modleski (Noblesville, IN) and Rocco Salvitti (Canonsburg, PA). Meanwhile, the women’s team welcomes Mimi Burton (Austin, TX), Anna Heck (Memphis, TN) and Alexsandra Lapple (Pinehurst, NC). These freshmen will look to make an instant impact if they are selected for the five-man roster.
“We have three new freshmen on the team, and all three of those guys are in a position to travel in the lineup, based on their score [Wednesday],” Handrigan said. “It shows you we are a young team with those three guys, but it just shows you how good they are if they have a chance to be in that very difficult lineup.”
Not all three will make the five-man roster for every match. But the fact that all three have the scores needed to make the cut speaks very highly of this talented, young team. It is safe to say that with the incoming class, Handrigan has high hopes for his team this season.
Another new addition to both golf teams is Andrew Serketich, who will be the new assistant coach and director of operations for both teams. Serketich was hired from Queens University of Charlotte this August. Serketich had great success at Queens. In Queens’ final season at the DII level, Serketich’s team finished first at the SAC Championship. This victory led the Royals to an NCAA Championship appearance.
Historically, the Irish haven’t been a national powerhouse. In fact, the women have never won a national title, while the men boast a singular national title, won in 1944. The Irish will look to make strides this year especially, as neither the men nor women made the Coaches’ Poll top 25 at the end of last season. In last year’s ACC Women’s Golf Championship, the Irish finished dead last in 12th place. The men did not fare much better, finishing 10th above Boston College and Virginia Tech.
The men have found some recent success under Coach Handrigan, but last year was not successful compared to years past.
“[We’re] coming back [this season] not even thinking about last year. They’re just thinking about what Notre Dame golf is,” Handrigan said. “We know we are a championship program and championship team, and we are going to compete that way all year.”
Both programs will look to have better seasons this upcoming year. The incoming freshmen, Coach Serketich and graduate leadership could mark a turnaround for the programs as the men’s and women’s golf teams start their seasons.