As we all know, when everyone was sent home back in March, all college sports were shut down. This included the season for the Villanova golf team, which was in the middle of its spring season and was thoroughly enjoying being out on the course and playing together.
After a successful fall season in 2019, the squad was excited to get back out there for the spring. The Wildcats were able to play in the Banyan Creek Collegiate Tournament in Palm City, Florida in mid-February. Also, on March 2nd and 3rd, they participated in the Fort Lauderdale Intercollegiate event, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
However, the Golden Horseshoe Intercollegiate event scheduled to begin on March 22nd in Williamsburg, Va. was cancelled, as was the remainder of their schedule.
The Wildcats also missed out on their home event, the Wildcat Spring Invitational, scheduled for April 6th and 7th, and the Big East Tournament at the conclusion of the season. While this was a bump in the road for the golfers, it didn’t stop the team.
Although the members weren’t able to golf, they were able to focus on their studies. Coach James Wilkes applauded the team saying, “They really focused on school and cracked down on their studies, and we finished with a combined GPA of 3.8 as a team, which I believe is the best for any men’s sport.”
Wilkes was incredibly proud of how the men were able to excel in the classroom when they couldn’t be on the golf course. The golfers’ individual hard work helped to earn the team a GCAA Team Academic Award, which added to Villanova’s 14 NCAA Public Recognition Awards for academic achievement.
Golf is different from many sports because one can easily social distance while playing. A golfer has the ability to stay 50 feet apart from another ahtlete, much less six feet. So, most golf courses were able to open early on in quarantine, which means that many of the players were able to play nearly every day (when they weren’t studying).
Wilkes said that he does know a lot of his players were still finding ways to play competitively over the summer. He said that they all are really serious about the coronavirus and are all trying to do the best they can to make sure students can stay on campus and not have to go home again.
Since the team has been able to start meeting, Wilkes said that he hasn’t been using up all the practice days he can. The team has Zoom meetings and in-person meetings, and it has been starting to get back to normal.
While it hasn’t done much practicing at the course as a team, Wilkes said that a lot of the guys have been going with each other, as roommates or as groups, and just going to the course to play.
He is also excited because he now has the biggest team he’s ever had. The school’s website lists the roster at 11 players, with a good mix of both old and young guys. With freshmen all the way to seniors, Wilkes is really excited to have the depth on the roster.
Wilkes said that Athletic Director Mark Jackson has had good communication with Big East Officials throughout the school year and that at the moment, the spring season is still a go as normal. However, there will not be a fall season. For now, the team is back on campus practicing, playing and learning.