It’s been nearly three months since the IU men’s golf team finished its fall schedule with the Ka’anapali Classic in Hawaii.
Since then, a lot has happened.
The Hoosiers have been spending time working with new technology in a year-round training facility that was completed this winter. The technology will allow them to analyze and pick apart their swings, no matter what the Indiana weather is like.
“We’re not the first on the block to have something like this, more like probably one of the last,” IU Coach Mike Mayer said. “But we’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were at compared to previous years. Even this morning I’ve worked with a couple players inside there one-on-one.”
The new facility allows for this individual work and gives athletes the ability to see the ball fly. Even if it is flying in cold weather, it really doesn’t matter. It gives the guys a chance to really pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses, Mayer said.
Part of the technology includes Trackman, a portable device used to record real-time swing data. Trackman will be making the trip to Palm Coast, Florida, with the team this weekend as it begins its spring schedule to compete in the Big Ten Match Play Championship.
“Trackman gives us more in-depth numbers to see exactly what we need to work on,” senior Max Kollin said. “By just looking at things, you can’t really tell where you’re at in your swing, and with the Trackman, it really helps bottom out your swing a little easier.”
IU is bringing Kollin, sophomore Brendon Doyle, freshman Jake Brown, junior Keegan Vea, junior Andrew Havill and freshman Jack Sparrow to compete in the annual Big Ten season opener.
The Hoosiers will face Penn State, Minnesota and Rutgers before being seeded based on their record to play one of the other teams from the West Division.
The Big Ten Match Play will be an opportunity to evaluate the lineup and allow the team to focus individually, Mayer said.
“We had a really successful weekend last weekend in Naples with the Alumni Match and I got some good practice in there,” Kollin said. “We’re really looking forward to starting up again. For me, I just want to go out and win every match that I can. Do the best that I can, and I expect everyone else to be doing the same.”
A particular point of focus for the team as it begins its spring schedule is to improve its short game. But when you spend the winter months in Indiana and on cool season grasses, it’s hard to get much of an opportunity to spend time on that aspect of golf.
The different grasses down in Florida make this a whole new ball game, Mayer said. This weekend, Mayer is looking for his team to continue to grow. In order to be successful, the Hoosiers need to have one guy step up and be the leader both on and off the golf course.
“This team has a lot of quality individuals, but we have to have somebody jump out of the pack,” Mayer said. “Of all the teams I’ve had, this is probably the most bunched up team.”
Mayer said he feels anyone in his top five has the potential and ability to fill that role. An obvious choice would be Kollin, but with three great juniors, it could be anyone, he said.
“We need to find that go-to guy,” Mayer said. “The one who you know can shoot that number to win that match. One of our guys now needs to turn into that great player.”