Harvard Golf Season in Review

Harvard Golf Season in Review

by Kevin Rhoads, Harvard head coach for men’s and women’s golf

In the past couple of weeks the Harvard Men’s and Women’s golf teams concluded their 2012-2013 campaign.  The men wrapped up their year at the Ivy Championships in Maryland and the women at NCAA Regionals in Palo Alto, California.  It was a season of transition and growth, adversity and progress.
2012-2013 Men’s Team Final Notes:  
On the men’s side, the season started out with a change in the head coaching position and coaching structure.  Every coach asks unique things of their players and brings their own style to the team.  It takes time to internalize those changes and reconcile them with existing strong points of both individual team members and the team itself.  In addition to the coaching change, the team faced the loss of two of their historic top performers to graduation, the loss of one of their starters to a wrist injury for the spring season, and the normal ins and outs of being an in-season student-athlete at Harvard. 
During the year, the men showed flashes of brilliance, incredible work ethic, and a desire to improve.  “Talent” can be defined as the ability to respond to effort.  Their hard work and desire will likely pay dividends soon.  Luckily the team loses no one to graduation.  Combining the progress made by this season’s team with the influx of three strong recruits arriving in September, I’m looking forward to a strong season next year.
2012-2013 Women’s Team Final Notes:
The women’s team also experienced some uncharacteristic challenges.  They met adversity head on.  They had to deal with the new coaching dynamic – sharing their head coach and the addition of Claire Sheldon as the assistant coach.  Injury prevented two of the five team members from practicing at even close to ideal capacity and a third went through some technique transition. 
This was our most talented top-5 that we have had on the women’s team and that showed in the fall with a dramatic improvement in team scoring average.  Despite huge work and dedication from each team member, carrying only five players created a few challenges.  The smaller team took away the dynamic of internal pressure during qualifying and added pressure on everyone to travel.  Despite those hurdles, the team was able to win their second Ivy Championship in a row and fourth in six years – a good indication that what they work on and how they work on it has been very successful.   
Similar to the men, the ladies team will remain fully intact next year and will add some strong new players. 
Closing Thoughts:

The goals for all team members in the program are as follows:

  • That they know and understand themselves, their golf games, and the modes in which they perform their best – their Ideal Performance State
  • That they work to produce the controllable factors of those states every time they practice, every time they play a qualifying round, and every time they play a tournament round.  

We as a program will continue to work to be the best we can be both in the classroom and on the course, applying lessons learned in both areas. 

One final time for the year, I’d like to thank all of the team members, the parents and families of the team members, and all of the Friends of Harvard golf for all of their efforts, support, and generosity over the course of the year.   We’ll look forward to getting back to work in the fall.