Challenges abound in spring

With the fall season coming to a close, the Florida A&M University’s golf team is focusing on the spring season, which will include two major tournaments and the National Minority Golf Championship.

The Bethune Cookman University Invitational is the next stop for a team looking to improve on their season, which saw them land fifth in the Atlanta Classic’s tournament and second in the Savannah State University Invitational.

The team was just 10 strokes behind the leader in the Savannah State Invitational.

Senior golfer Gallop Franklin, said he expects the spring season to go better than fall.

“Of course each time we play we want to win and be victorious,” said Franklin a fourth-year pharmacy student from Tallahassee.

Franklin said the team recognized their room to grow just from the first match.

“The first tournament went well, but we definitely took it as a learning experience.” Franklin said.

He also said that team chemistry is essential to growing into a better golf team.

“We were just starting to understand each other’s talents and took the time out to understand our strengths and weaknesses,” Franklin said.

Sophomore economics student Wesley Yates, has emerged as the team’s number one seed.

The Atlanta native surprised his teammates with his talents, on arrival.

“He has done more than just step up to the plate.” Franklin said.

Yates said he keeps his preparation simple.

“I really don’t do too much,” Yates said. “I just prepare mentally and get ready to get out there and do the best that I can.”

Graduating senior James Petty is also expected to continue his impressive season. Petty’s win tied for first place at the Savannah State University Invitational. The honor came two years after Petty’s Athlete of the Year award from the Student Government Association.

Freshman Shephard Archie, from Augusta, Ga., is another player who will help contribute to the team in the spring. Archie was a part of the Academy of Richmond County high school’s state championship golf team.

Franklin ranked the team’s performance a seven on a ten point scale.

“I say that because we had a fairly decent start and then we had a little slump,” Franklin said. “Reasons why I feel we didn’t play well was because our naturally number one player from last year wasn’t playing too well this season including myself. Other reasons were because we had new players on the team who weren’t too familiar with the playing abilities of the entire team nor the environment of college golf.”

Right now the team focuses on practicing chipping and pitching also known as the “short game.”

“When you get to a certain level (in golf) they hit long and straight. To have an advantage over your competitors you want to have a handle on your short game,” Franklin said.

Yates said head golf coach Marvin Green, helps usher in the team’s mental preparedness.

“He helps us get ready to go out there and play,” Yates said. “He is the best for motivational purposes.”

Franklin said Green’s attitude has helped the team mature.

“He’s extremely motivating. He has a natural competitive spirit. He definitely enjoys winning,” Franklin said. “He is great with resources and we’ve had the opportunities to play on premier golf courses in Tallahassee because of his resources.”

Green has coached golf for eight years and has been around students for seventeen years.

“Being around students keeps you young,” said Green who has been a golfer for nearly 50 years. “I just always tell them before they get out there to seize the moment. How do you want to look back on your time at FAMU? What legacy do you want to leave behind?”