Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan women’s golf team has made considerable strides in the year-and-a-half since its resurrection.
Cheryl Stacy, who begins her second year as the Chippewas’ coach, is hoping to continue that trend with what remains a relatively young roster.
“I think player development is definitely a big key to what we’re doing,” said Stacey, whose team opens the season Monday at the Women’s MAC Match Play Challenge at Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
The Chippewa lineup comprises seven players, six of whom are underclassmen. During the 2015 fall season, the Chippewas recorded 19 rounds in the 70s. During the entire 2014-15 season (both fall and spring), they posted a total of 15.
CMU averaged 326.45 per 18-hole round last fall. The previous spring, Stacy’s first at the helm of the program, they averaged 337.10.
The Chippewas have gone through a comprehensive weight lifting and conditioning regiment since the end of last season, and they have put in six days a week in their indoor training facility at Mount Pleasant Country Club and in the turf bay at the Indoor Athletic Complex.
No, it isn’t golf on a course in the elements, but it’s the next-best thing, and the Chippewas have made a concerted effort to improve on the short game and their overall mental approach. In-team competitions and training aids have played roles, Stacy said.
“I’m encouraged,” she said. “We’ve done a ton of short game stuff -- high flop, bump and run; we’ve used training aids to help them.
“I see improvement on a day-to-day basis. I feel like their work ethic and their enthusiasm for the game has increased. They’ve matured as young adults. It’ll be fun to see how they evolve into juniors and seniors as we go on.”
The Chippewas are scheduled to open the MAC Match Play Challenge on Monday against Florida Golf Coast. The two-day event concludes on Tuesday.
Also in the field are Ohio, Oakland, Western Michigan, Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne, host Bowling Green, Dayton, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Akron.
CMU’s schedule resumes March 11-13 with a trip to the Clover Cup in Mesa, Ariz. The Chippewas will also compete in tournaments in Florida, Georgia and Bowling Green. The MAC Championships, hosted by Ball State, are scheduled for April 22-24 in Noblesville, Ind.
“The tournaments that we’re playing this spring are very high quality,” Stacy said. “I think the main goal is really to improve our individual scoring averages. You put 100 percent effort in each day, that’s what you ask of yourself. We’ve been trying to get our score average under 80 (per player). If we can do that’s a big step for us.”