Utah Men’s Golf Launches Season with High Expectations

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Utah Men’s Golf Launches Season with High Expectations

Credit to Utah Athletics

Credit to Utah Athletics

Credit to Utah Athletics

Credit to Utah Athletics

By Ryker Jackson

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The University of Utah golf team launches this season with high expectations. Senior Jordan Costello put it best when he said, “The team is excited, the coach is excited, and we are heading in the right direction. It’s going to be a great year.”

They are on their way to the Gopher Invitational this weekend at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota to open the season. After a number of years in the Pac-12, the golf program feels its time to make an impact in conference play.

According to Head Coach Garrett Clegg, “We only lost one player from the 2018-19 season. He was an important player in our lineup so no question we will need our entire team to step up. Our team will need a lot of depth this year. I anticipate that most of the team will get an opportunity to prove themselves somewhere during the season.”

For a sport where talented players may decide to go pro after only one season of play, this type of veteran leadership is incredibly valuable. The experience of this team is expected to play a big factor in their success this season.

The current home of the team is the Salt Lake Country Club, where all members of the team hold junior memberships. This is an amazing course, founded in 1899 and is among the oldest clubs in the western United States. The team loves their home course, but after months of continuous practice on it, they are ready to move across the country and face teams on courses that will vary widely from this home in Salt Lake.

Some might say that the copious amounts of snow received by the state of Utah place us at a disadvantage for a golf team, as they will naturally not be able to practice as much as teams in California or Arizona. Costello, however, has a different take on the situation.

“I think its good for me because I always had a break where I wasn’t playing golf every day. I like doing other things, but you have to take advantage of the good weather and really work that much harder.”

Costello, a Wyoming native, also noted that playing in harsher conditions can help prepare you for less-than-ideal weather conditions, especially considering that good weather will not always be a constant.

Senior Jordan Costello. Credit to Utah Athletics

Costello is ready to continue handling his leadership role and helping the team overcome obstacles throughout the season as well as seniors Peyton Hastings and Mitchell Schow. While their contributions cannot be overlooked, Coach Clegg has a positive outlook on the future of the program. He said, “We have a group of six underclassmen that are ready to get out there and help us improve. Our underclassmen are poised to lead by example this season and are looking to help our program take a major step forward. It should be a great year.”

Our seniors are eager to see success from the program in the future as well, with Costello adding that they’re working on building a culture that coaches are looking for.

Even though the future is an exciting prospect, it is important to not lose sight of the past, something that Costello is keenly aware of. He still remembers a wonderful experience he had as a 7- or 8-year-old with one of his favorite players. He said that there was a skins game between Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and two others that he was able to watch. He was standing near the tee box, and when Mickelson was teeing off, he tossed him a ball. Later on, near one of the greens, Mickelson tossed another ball to Costello. Getting one golf ball thrown to you by an idol is one thing, but multiple is amazing. It’s these types of memories that have helped Costello grow into the golfer he is today.

Although Mickelson is his favorite player, Costello didn’t shy away from saying that the golfer he models his game after most currently is Brooks Koepka. He said that he admires his mental approach to the game. He is amazed at how Koepka is unphased by what is happening around him and simply plays the way that he wants to.

Just as important as the mental strategy, equipment is a very large portion of the golf game and will be throughout this season. While Costello prefers TaylorMade equipment, he states that the university and all players use selections from TaylorMade, Titleist and Ping.

So, if you’re looking for a new pair of clubs, gloves, or even golf balls, be sure to keep an eye out for the equipment the golf team will use throughout the season. It may very well help you make some wise decisions.

When asked if he had any superstitions about the game, Costello was quick to point out that he did have one for a while, but that he’s gotten away from it. He said that while he now tries very hard to not have any superstitions, there was a time in which he could not play with a TaylorMade ball that had the number five on it. He said that TaylorMade balls are numbered one, two, three, then five, skipping four in order to emphasize that their balls are made with five layers.

Now naturally, as any golfer would say, and as stated by Costello, when you’re playing, you don’t want to be thinking of the number five. The only numbers you want in your head are ones, twos and threes, and maybe a four on a par five. Certainly five, at best a par and at worst a double bogey, is not something you would want.

Their home course has a rating of 74.7, which is fairly high in comparison to others, and the course they will play this weekend has a rating of 74.2. Given this information, we can hope that the Salt Lake Country Club course will give our team perhaps a slight advantage. In any case, come out in support of our Utah golf team whenever you get the chance because according to players and coaches, this will be a season you won’t want to miss.

Whether or not the other players had or currently have superstitions about the game, we don’t know, but we do know that they’re ready to get the season underway. This Sunday and Monday, Sept. 8 and 9, the team will play at the Gopher Invitational. You can follow along hole by the hole at golfstat.com.

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@rykerjackson97