Coach Thurmond's NCAA Blog

May 26, 2008

The Washington men's golf team will compete at the NCAA Championships hosted by Purdue at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Club in West Lafayette, Ind., beginning Wednesday. Head coach Matt Thurmond will write a daily blog from West Lafayette, sharing some insight on the Huskies' experience as they compete on the nation's top stage in the week ahead. Here is Coach Thurmond's first entry after the squad's introduction to the course during a rough opening practice round.

Greetings from Indiana...

Yesterday was a long travel day. We arrived in Indianapolis around 10:15, hit White Castle, and made it to the motel in West Lafayette after midnight. We were a bit tired today and the difficulty of the Kampen Course made us more tired. I wish I had a camera to send pictures. I'm sure we'll have some on the website in the coming days. The rough, or 'cabbage' as the guys refer to it, is waste high in many places just off the fairway. The course is very long and tough normally, but the rough has kicked things up a notch or two. I estimate that every time we hit it into the rough it costs us .75 shots. If we get lucky we can advance it up the fairway. On average you have to chip out sideways, and occasionally you can't get back to the fairway. There are five par fours over 480 yards and all four of the par threes are all carry over water. Three of the par fives are over 600 yards. This is a really tough course that shows very little mercy.

I can relate to the PGA Tour players that say playing the US Open is not fun. Certainly this golf course is not fun. However, competing is. And we all play the same course. It will be a tremendous test of patience, focus, and all-around mental strength.

I've got to just help the guys have that strength. Somehow we need to help them find the pleasure in the challenge. It sounds easy, but looking at these fairways and the rough and hacking out of it all day can really beat a guy down. So that is our big challenge.

Every year at the NCAA Championships we play our first practice round for a score like a real round. I want the guys to get a true feel for how the course plays. I want them to know the tough stretches and rhythm of the course. I want them to feel the painful consequences of certain shots. Because we do that, our second practice round is so much better and we know where we need to focus our attention. Except for Nick, our scores were not low today, but I trust we know more about how the course really plays than our competitors.

Tomorrow we play a practice round in the morning and will rest all afternoon to get ready for the tourney. Until then....


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