Practice after practice, swing after swing, the ping-sounds of well-struck golf balls have echoed through Holuba Hall as the men’s team has been forced to work inside due to frigid temperatures.
Heading for warmer weather, the Penn State men’s golf team travels to Houston this weekend for the Challenge of Champions.
The Nittany Lions will take on Big Ten opponent Michigan State at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Penn State is coming off of losses to both Wisconsin and the Spartans in the Big Ten Match Play Championships on Feb. 8-9. Michigan State finished second at the tournament, losing to No. 17 Illinois in the final round.
At the team’s media day, Lions coach Greg Nye said he has learned a lot about his squad and is optimistic about the season ahead.
“The main thing that I think that I’ve learned about this group is that it has got a pretty strong work ethic. It’s a group of young people that are passionate about the game that they play, and for them to be committed is fairly easy,” Nye said.
The team will look to Jens Talbert to continue leading it through the spring. The sophomore is averaging a team-best 73.36 strokes per 18 holes.
The cold Pennsylvania winter makes preparing for outdoor play difficult, senior Jay Woodward explained.
“This last tournament we only had one day of outside work before we had to tee up for work the next day,” Woodward said.
“It’s pretty hard to simulate a real green inside, so that takes a little bit of time. Particularly the longer putts,” said Nye. “It’s really going from kind of a training thing with your swing and your techniques, to actually a playing circumstance. That’s a real chore to get over.”
When asked how Nye sees his team among Big Ten competition this season he said they believe they are “a best-kept secret.”