WKU golfers treating time off as an extended offseason

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Many athletes currently don't have access to training facilities, but golf courses have remained open, allowing many golfers the chance to continuing regular practice.

"We're still able to do most of what we were doing before," said Adam Gary, the Western Kentucky Women's Golf coach. "I guess the only difference is not having the competition."

While basketball, football, and baseball players struggle to find places to get in quality work, golfers have been able to continue practicing as close to normal as possible.

"I think we're still able to get a lot of good work done and this really isn't going to slow golf down that much," Gary said.

Members of the WKU golf team are treating this time away from competition like an offseason, working to fine-tune their skills.

"I just go and play nine-holes whenever there's a tee time in the evening and try and get some reps in that way," said Tom Bevington, a senior golfer for the WKU Men's team.

"I feel like working on mechanics is more beneficial in the long run than just playing in tournaments," Mary Joiner, a senior member of the WKU Women's team said. "Having that extra time to be able to work and really improve will put you ahead in the future."

Bevington said during the offseason over Christmas break, he had had several goals he wanted to work on but wasn't quite able to achieve. Now he's using this time to focus on those goals again.

"It's sort of like an extra offseason that I've been gifted to work on anything I need to and get the technical side of my game as sharp as it can be," Bevington said.

Now golfers are still facing some challenges, even with courses open. Many courses are packed, making finding a tee time just to get on the course a struggle. Some courses have restrictions put in place. Bevington, who's living just north of Dallas, Texas said his local course has closed its practice facility and he's not allowed to use the chipping green.

"If it's not fitness or exercise you can't be doing it," Bevington said. "So me standing around chipping doesn't count as exercise apparently."

Joiner, who lives in Franklin, Kentucky, said she can play at her local county club's course anytime. However, she isn't able to properly practice her short game.

"I can't really work on my putting," Joiner said. "You can work on speed but that's about it."

With access to courses, golfers are able to continue practicing and improving until competition returns. There is one area players aren't able to replicate during this time extended offseason, and that's the mental grind of tournaments.

"We play a lot of 36 hole days," said Chan Metts, the Men's Golf coach. "The mental grind that a tournament puts on a player is really hard to prepare for that. You kind of condition yourself to that as you're playing golf tournaments."

Bevington and Joiner are seniors but have elected to return to the hill in the fall after the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility to senior spring sport athletes.