Seton Hall student-athletes received crushing news in mid-August when the Big East announced the cancellation of all fall sports due to COVID-19. Despite the lack of sports, almost all Pirates sports teams have continued training — albeit in a bizarre new normal. The women’s and men’s golf teams have done so in different ways.
The men’s team continues to practice as a team but has encountered difficulty in finding tee times due to an increase in interest for golf.
“Golf has become so popular in the last three to four months because it’s one of the only things people can do,” Gregor Tait, a senior golfer, said. “Courses are really busy and finding tee times for us is a bit tricky at the moment, but we’re managing.”
“Training hasn’t changed with the exception that we’re not qualifying to go to tournaments,” men’s golf coach Clay White said. “We have 9 of the 11 guys at a team practice. They want to have teammates. They want to practice with them. They want to get better.”
White added that only two golfers, international students Ian Lee and Peter Tyler Po, did not come back to the United States due to safety concerns.
The remaining golfers in South Orange find practice times at various local golf courses like Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., and Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, N.J.
“We’re still trying to figure out what the best routine is for us just because everything is so different all the time,” Tait said. “We still have access to courses and facilities on campus, and we still have places we can go and play.”
Practice and training has drastically changed for the women’s team. Three girls on the team are international students and did not return to the United States for the fall semester. Four of the five remaining golfers opted out of team competition to participate in non-NCAA tournaments.
“That option is really limiting my time with them,” women’s golf coach Natalie Desjardins said. “I can’t have face-to-face with them. They can’t utilize any of the athletic resources that we provide them, but I can do some virtual stuff. We can still be in communication.”
Desjardins added that team meetings still take place virtually despite the team not practicing together.
Maddie Sager, a graduate student who returned to Seton Hall after the cancellation of the spring season, is one of the girls who opted out of team practice. She said her training regimen has not changed much.
“I’ve been going out on my own and playing with members,” Sager said. “That’s what I do when I go home for the summer so I’m pretty much continuing my training routine from the summer and just taking it to our courses that we use here.”
Despite the shock and disappointment of the fall season getting canceled, both White and Desjardins said they are working hard to boost team morale amid a bizarre training period and are looking forward to a potential season next spring.
Matt Collins can be reached at email@example.com