Baker golf team visits Gulf

Story by Kyle Davis

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Some golf experiences just cannot be accomplished in Kansas, like practicing bunker shots on the beach or standing on a fairway surrounded by an ocean.

The Baker golf teams will get that opportunity next week. The teams will spend their spring break in Gulf Shores, Ala., preparing for the upcoming season as well as giving back to the community.

Neither team has competed in a tournament this spring, so this will be continued practice for the start of the season.

“Right now, I’m still trying to get the rust off a little bit, but I’m definitely looking forward to playing in that first tournament,” sophomore Adam Taylor said. “Just the atmosphere of competition is something that I always look forward to.”

Members of the teams will travel with Baker University Minister Ira DeSpain and a group of Baker students who also will work on the project.

As part of the trip, the golf teams will spend 20 hours working on wildlife refuge restoration in an area damaged by hurricanes.

“With the damage that was done by those hurricanes, there’s hundreds of days, thousands of days, of work to be done,” head golf coach Karen Exon said.

Exon said Baldwin County, Ala., where the teams will travel, is per capita the most impoverished county in the continental 48 states.

The golfers also will spend much of their time working on their golf game.

The teams will play a couple of rounds, including playing at Kiva Dunes Golf Course, which Exon said usually is in the Top 100 Golf Digest resort courses.

“When you go to a new course, you’re not going to know what to do, so you have to play smarter,” freshman Eric Reimer said of how the players will benefit from playing unfamiliar courses.

Also, the players will have a range practice Monday and will wear beach clothes, grab bunker wedges and work on bunker shots by going up and down the beach in front of their condominiums Tuesday.

“Usually, without question, every year we have done that particular practice. For the rest of the year, those student athletes don’t have much trouble with bunker play,” Exon said.

Any trip as a team also is a time for the players to bond.

“I think it will be good just to get together as a team and actually be all in one place playing and kind of knock us into the golf season mindset,” sophomore Dani Weimholt said.