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Men’s golf returns with focus on the 15th club

For the four upperclassmen on the men’s golf team, the desire to win more has been brewing for four years.

Alex Chalk, Gregor Tait, Andres Acevedo and  Alex McAuley led  the  naming  of the mental core values for this year’s squad to help them ac- complish team and personal goals.

Last   semester,  men’s   golf had one of the highest GPAs among  student  athlete  teams at 3.6. Their work ethic spoke to  the  first  core  value  that they came up with, which was “Relentless in Everything You Do.”

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Photo via SHU Athletics

“We tried to find ones that would stick with people,” Chalk  said. “The  other  guys would try to make values and we kept three main ones. Golf is super mental, it’s just crazy because you have a million thoughts  going through  your head. When you’re out on the golf course and thinking of giving up,  my  mindset  is to be relentless to keep grinding away for  myself and  for  my teammates.”

Chalk   mentioned   that   in the offseason head coach Clay White  attended  seminars and found out what makes a team click. Chalk  said coaches al- ways have things that  they should value such as being punctual, but  players need to their own within the team. Between the  four  upperclass- men, they had to decide what their   values  were  and   how they would hold each other accountable.

As a  personal  goal,  Chalk wanted to improve the imagi- nary 15th club in his bag.

Every  golfer  has  14  clubs in their bag. The 15th club is the mental aspect of the game, the extra tool needed to push a golfer’s game above the com- petition.

“I’ve been working on that for probably 15 years,” Chalk said. “A lot of us have our days and when you’re playing golf well, it’s so easy to turn up, just smack it wherever you want and there’s no worries in the world. On the bad days, that’s where I needed to improve when I’m having bad days, if not accept, just try and maintain one step at time instead of thinking how badly things are going. A big thing for me, one of the core values too, was staying in the present.”

For  the  seniors, Chalk  and McAuley, they have not expe- rienced a team win since the spring of 2017.

Chalk also mentioned what it felt like to hoist a Big East trophy but spoke to bittersweet feeling of not coming in first.

“We sniffed it, but we haven’t finished off a tournament,” Chalk said. “The first tournament that Gregor [Tait] won his freshman year, we play a good last round but it’s just not your day West Virginia shot an unbelievable last round at the UNCG tournament. I’ve been excruciatingly close, like my freshman year, it was 900 shots later and we lost by one. Especially flying home with a second-place trophy that’s massive then everyone’s like oh congrats but that’s a second-place trophy.”

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Added to  that  drive is the unique practices they must work their way around the outside conditions of the northeast. Tait loves the com- petitive edge of the group and recognizes the privilege of the facilities at  Seton  Hall  that have   helped   them   sharpen their game.

One of the most helpful tools for the team has been the simulation gaming system called E6. They can play 18 holes, try out different games like horse or the golf version of the game 21 on any course.

With the loss of two decorated seniors in Gen Nagai and Chris Yeom from last season, this year’s team had to find ways to competitive, get healthy and learn which golfers would fit in new roles.

“We’re a different team now and it’s taken us a little bit of time to find out where productivity needs to come from within the team,” Tait said. “With Chris and Gen on the team, who were so reliable, you knew what they were going to give you every single tournament over, over and over again. I think we have a pretty good system now of where we know what’s going to work for different people and now it’s putting it into plan.”

Evando Thompson can be reached at evando.thompson@ student.shu.edu. Find him on Twitter @evthmps.

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