PLYMOUTH – After a highly successful 2019 season that included a share of the NLC title for the first time in 26 years, Plymouth’s golfers were understandably optimistic headed to the 2020 campaign.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other ideas for the entire sports world.
“You look out the window and see it warming up and feel that the season is close but there is stuff in the world right now that is messing with our practice schedule and we weren’t able to really start until recently,” said Plymouth coach Ben Waymouth. “We were getting two days a week which is what the IHSAA limits us to (in pre-season) and we tried to do our best to take advantage of the time and now it looks like we are going to have a lot of time on our hands.”
“We are looking forward at some point to get a definitive timeline on when we can get our match schedule started,” he said. “We’ve got things slated but it’s kind of up to Mother Nature in more ways than one this year.”
In the meantime restrictions on social contact mean no practice, no meetings and a lot of wait and see.
“We’re doing the best we can to stay in contact,” said Waymouth. “I just sent some things out to the players today about things to look over and to do at home and asking if they have questions so I’m looking forward to hearing from them later this week.”
Spring sports had not yet reached the date where they could begin full nightly practice sessions and while it may not be a marathon run, there is still a fair amount of “getting into shape” that has to take place for golfers preparing for their season.
“We do a lot of fundamental work in our off-season time,” said Waymouth. “There isn’t a lot of cardio you need for golf course management during the season but there are a lot of motor skills that need to be repped over and over again. That means a lot of putting inside We’ve been hitting balls since late January.”
“We’ve been doing some bouncing around,” he said. “Swan Lake has an indoor facility and we’ve spent some time in there and a lot more time this season than ever before in the cage at the high school just working coach to coach, small groups, to get things rolling in the right direction, doing what we can.”
“We don’t hit a lot of longer clubs this time of year we do a lot of work with things like wedges up to mid irons just in the cage,” said Waymouth. “I’m anxious to see how some of the things we’ve been doing inside play out when we actually do get outside.”
Technology has entered the sport of golf in a big way and the use of some new gadgets has helped the team over the winter.
“We replicate what we can in the cage,” said Waymouth. “We purchased a launch monitor this year to use in the cage and it’s been helpful for the kids and me to know when the ball leaves the club is it flying to the left is it flying to the right. You used to have to just wait until you got out to play to get a feel for some of those things.”
Expectations are high this year after the success of last year’s team and the return of three key components of the Pilgrims NLC win.
“We caught lightning in a bottle at the conference tournament and came away as conference co-champs and that’s something we haven’t been able to do in 26 seasons,” said Waymouth. “To put something like that on the banner to hang up in the gym was good for our program. We are going to miss Chapman Yoder and Bryce Carmichael, but we have three of our top five guys coming back.”
“I think that gives us some confidence,” he said. “Matthew Gerard is coming back as a senior, Owen Yoder, and Bennett Christy coming back will be at the top of our lineup. Figuring out who those other guys in our lineup are going to be is the problem.”
“I like the guys I have,” said Waymouth. “I know what I have and a lot of the other coaches are scratching their heads trying to figure out who’s going to be consistent and that’s the name of the game in our sport is consistency.”
“We’ve had really good attendance at our pre-season stuff I like what I’ve seen so far but once we get outdoors it’s a whole different ball game but I like the way the needle is pointed with our team,” said Waymouth. “Coming off a conference title the way we did leaves, everybody, with a good feeling that we know what we are doing and we know what needs to be done. We are looking to get out and execute.”