The FAMU golf team, though having faced minor problems in the past, is still maintaining its focus for an upcoming tournament at Bethune Cookman University.
Doug Smith, 23, a senior from Vesailles, Ky., transferred from the University of Louisville to pursue his golfing dream here.
“I chose to come to FAMU and finish playing golf because it was a better situation for me at the time,” Smith said.
Smith said as the oldest player on the team, he takes on a lot of leadership, especially dealing with the previous recruitment of freshmen, but he is able to focus on his individual practice.
“I’ve currently been working on my swing,” Smith said.
In competing with nine other schools, Smith said he prepares by putting himself in game-like situations.
“I’m pretty thorough with my preparation, I’ve been playing golf for 19 years now,” Smith said.
His experience has helped other players develop their game as well.
James Petty, 21, a senior business administration student from Grand Blanc, Mich., said Smith has assisted the team a lot since becoming a Rattler.
“Doug helps us out with chipping and also the mental aspect of the game,” Petty said.
However, Petty said he himself did not do a bad job last year. He had two wins, which contributed to him being named Athlete of the Year.
Petty said his game has improved dramatically, and he is excited to get back in action.
“I love to compare my games to others to see how much I’ve developed,” Petty said.
Gallop Franklin, 20, a pharmacy student from Tallahassee, is also preparing for the tournament.
Franklin, who is involved with public service, said he finds a way to balance his time and prepare himself.
“I still do my best in dedicating a lot of my time to the team,” Franklin said.
After placing third in the National Minority Golf Championship, Franklin said that accomplishment meant a lot because of recruitment issues.
“We only had five guys last year, but now I feel that the team is more established and better prepared,” Franklin said.
Smith hopes winning tournaments will inspire the freshmen’s game.
The Rattlers will attend the Bethune Cookman Invitational Feb. 22-24 in Daytona Beach.