Coach Carlson's First Blog: Getting Ready for the Season

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Gopher Golf Fans-

Preparation is in full force for the start of our 2013-14 fall season starting Sept. 4. As a reminder, college golf consists of 144 days of competition and practice with a break from Nov. 9 to Jan. 19. Other than the weeks around finals, all players condition for up to six hours per week and work with the coaching staff technically for up to two hours per week, even during this break. As many of you know, this means there really is not a break for college golfers as we are constantly looking to improve 365 days a year. August is a quiet month for recruiting but once September hits, we prepare for the rigors of college golf.

Our fall season will consist of six events this year. We will travel to the four corners of the United States looking for the best competition at every stop. Seventeen competitive rounds and 40-plus practices, along with a full academic workload, will allow the players just enough time to eat in Dinkytown occasionally and meet a few new college friends.

In my third full season as head coach, I have even higher anticipation for the start of this year as we have an experienced, solid nucleus returning from a team that nearly pulled off a Big Ten Championship in 2013, only to lose a close battle to the five-time defending Big Ten Champions, the Illini of the University of Illinois.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Illinois also finished runner up at the 2013 NCAA Championship in Atlanta...  

Our returning starters include Jon Trasamar (fifth-year senior and team captain), Alex Gaugert (senior), Tyler Lowenstein (junior) and Jon DuToit (sophomore). Also seeing tournament action in 2012-13 was third-year sophomore Charlie Braniff. The two remaining returners to our team are Genki Hirayama (senior) and Kyle Beversdorf (junior). 

My second full recruiting class at the U is something that our coaching staff is very proud of as it ranks highly in the Big Ten. We have four incoming freshmen coming in from all over the world. Jose Mendez (Costa Rica), Grady Meyer (Fargo, N.D.), Daniel Luftspring (Toronto, Ontario) and Matt Rachey (Waconia, Minn.) will all have the opportunity to break into the lineup throughout the year. I could talk at length about each of our returning players and incoming freshmen but our website, GopherSports.com, does a much more thorough job of explaining their credentials and background in golf.

Go Gophers! 2002 trophy
Go Gophers!
2002 NCAA championship trophy
Go Gophers!
I do want to touch on our team's biggest accomplishments in amateur events throughout the summer months. Winning is something that comes at the end of a process, as we often talk about as a team. We try to get our players in position to win as much as possible as it is the only true way to expose both strengths and weaknesses in golf. Having said this, our team has shown that our method will achieve results.

2013 Summer Results
*Jon DuToit - MN STATE OPEN CHAMPION, USGA Amateur Public Links Qualifier
*Genki Hirayama - MN PLAYERS CHAMPION (STATE MATCH PLAY)
*Jose Mendez - CALLAWAY JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION, AJGA CHAMPION, JUNIOR WORLD CUP TEAM QUALIFYING CHAMPION, member of Costa Rican National Team
*Alex Gaugert - fourth place at Wisconsin State Amateur
*Grady Meyer - second place at North Dakota Class A High School State Tournament
*Jon Trasamar - USGA Public Links Match Play Qualifier, PINE TO PALM MEDALIST AND CHAMPION

It is very clear that I am proud of my current and former team members at the University of Minnesota. I display the National Championship trophy in my office along with our three team awards that are rightly named: Louis Lick Hardest Worker, 2002 National Championship Team Teammate of the Year and Tom Lehman Player of the Year.  We have many successful professionals doing well on their respective tours this year so continue to check our Twitter, Facebook and GopherSports.com pages for updated headlines.

Lastly, I want to remind everyone of some great ways to get involved in our program. 
  • Volunteer at the Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm GC on Sept. 8-9. We are looking for walking scorers and help with live hole scoring and ball spotting.
  • Participate in the inaugural Gopher Men's Golf/Gopher Women's Hockey outing at Southview CC on Sept. 16. We plan to make this an annual event.
  • Donate to our team's service fund that will be used for large program expenses that will enhance the technology available to our team members.
With each of these opportunities, feel free to contact my assistant coach, Tyler Stith, by email at tstith@umn.edu or go to GoldenGopherFund.com.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

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