After a two-month lull in competition, golf is looking to “flip the script” on its fall slate with a stronger technical performance this semester.
As a team, the Colonials finished among the bottom three in four of their five tournaments. Golfers said the break between competitions allowed them to focus on the technical aspects of their game – tweaking swings, shots and putting strategies.
“For us, it’s about trusting the process and really creating our own self-image of what we’re capable of doing,” head coach Chuck Scheinost said.
Sophomore Logan Othmer said Scheinost switched practice formats from a block style, which relies on repeating skills, to a random style that ensures golfers never hit the same shot twice.
“Random practice prepares you a lot better for tournaments because that’s how it is,” Othmer said. “You never hit the same shot twice so going to this season, doing that right before events, I feel will put us in a better position to play well.”
In the fall slate, the Colonials played in five tournaments and averaged a 29-over par score. GW’s largest deficit came at the West Virginia Mountaineer Invitational, when the team finished 62-over par. Its lowest deficit came a week later at the Elon Phoenix Invitational, when the squad took 14th with 10-over par.
After last year’s fall slate, GW averaged a 22.4-over par score. Its largest deficit was 43-over par at the Denver Paintbrush Invitational. The Colonials’ lowest deficit was 6-over par at the Elon Phoenix Invitational, when the squad nabbed 10th.
Othmer said the team needs to stay patient and focused to keep a level head in competition.
“Each one of us is going to get different points, you’re either up big or losing a lot,” Othmer said. “And it’s who’s going to be able to give 110 percent of their focus for all 18 holes and be able to grind it out when you’re losing by a lot or keep the foot on the gas when you’re winning by a lot.”
In addition to the reworked practice schedule, some golfers, like freshmen duo Jakub Hrinda and Hugo Riboud, saw private coaches to hone in on technical aspects of their game. Hrinda said the first semester was a “bit of a rush” for the pair, but they are now settled in for the spring slate.
Hrinda said he worked with a swing technician to gain another perspective on what was important in his golf swing and what areas he should sharpen or change. He added that Riboud saw a coach in Florida to practice over the winter break.
In his first season with the program, Hrinda played in all five tournaments, earning a tie for 45th, his highest finish, at the West Virginia Mountaineer Invitational. Riboud has played in four team tournaments and competed as an individual at the VCU Janney Invitational, taking 73rd.
Hrinda said he has learned to manage the colder weather conditions while playing at GW, a feat he had not encountered in previous tournaments.
“There’s a big difference in practicing when it’s cold and when it’s warm in so many different aspects, in the way the grass reacts to stress,” Hrinda said. “The way you have to dress multiple layers and trying to swing accurately – you’re more restricted. It’s just getting used to it.”
Scheinost said the loss of 2019-graduate Logan Lowe, who topped a decorated career with an Atlantic 10 Championship, hit the team hard. But Scheinost said he can lean on the entire roster to lead the squad in tournaments rather than one-star golfer.
“This year we’ve had some signs of everyone playing really good, and I believe that some of the daily practices we instituted this spring to keep us focused and bring us back to square one every week,” Scheinost said. “The dividends are going to pay toward the end of the year.”
The Colonials kick off their spring slate Feb. 17 and 18 at the President’s Match Play Championship, an event the program snatched first in a year ago. Scheinost said he expects the team to win at least two matches at the championship.
In preparation for its first competition back, Scheinost said the team has used its indoor putting center to improve its short game and used Google Earth to prepare detailed strategies for each hole and each shot it will take.
But Scheinost added that the championship is the first step of tackling play this spring and wants his team to remain confident in its abilities and adhere to the process of building skills in each practice.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen this spring and allowing ourselves to turn it around, because not many sports get that opportunity to reset in the middle of their year and basically flip the script,” he said. “We’ll see if we can flip the script this spring.”
Emily Maise contributed reporting.