by Beth Moller
The men’s golf team is having the best season they have had in Coach Billy Aune’s 22 years of leading them. They started the season off with a win over North Central College on Sep. 1 and haven’t looked back. Good leaders are the key to any sports team, especially in the often frustrating and mentally demanding game of golf. Mac Saby and Meghan Mundahl are juniors on the men’s and women’s golf teams and are remaining focused on the season as well as encouraging and leading their teammates.
Saby is one of the captains for the men’s golf team. As a captain, he has the opportunity to be a leader on the team and impact teammates.
“Time management and getting the most out of the game are ways I show leadership to the other guys on the team,” said Saby. “It is my first time being a captain and it is nice taking over [as a captain] and seeing what I can improve on.”
Aune said, “[Saby] has been an organizer for me. He has also been a voice for the younger players since they often feel they can talk to him. He has done a very good job taking on the responsibility of the role and asks questions that the younger players often don’t ask.”
On the women’s side, Mundahl said she is focused on being there to give advice and show the ropes of the course to the newer teammates.
She said, “The team tries to remind each other that the shot is over you can’t go back.”
This year, the women are enjoying having a full team, after having only four golfers last year. In a competition, five golfers play but only the top four scores count toward the overall team score.
Mundahl said, “There’s not as much pressure on all of us to shoot well. If one of us doesn’t shoot well, the other four pick us up. There is also more team atmosphere we actually feel like a team this year.”
While the women’s team has a smaller roster, the men’s program is flourishing with 13 golfers this season.
“More guys on the men’s team means there is more of a variety of players,” Saby said. “It brings out the most in the guys. Golf is a game of who’s hot and who’s cold. More guys means it is more competitive. They have to worry about the people in front of them and behind them as well as the other team.”
In addition to building relationships and encouraging each other on the golf course, the men’s and women’s teams also strive to grow in their relationship with Christ by having team prayer partners.
Saby said, “We share one-on-one about what’s going on at UNW and in our lives and our walk with Jesus. It has really changed how I’ve gotten to know people.”
Mundahl added, “We spend time together as a team and talk about life. The prayer partners and road trips are good times for bonding as a team.”
On the course, UNW’s golfers have an opportunity to share about their faith as well.
Saby said, “We spend about five hours with other players while we are on the golf course, and we can take the opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ and really let them know how we feel about it.”
The golf teams are motivated to compete as Jesus Christ would want them to compete. Northwestern’s athletic tagline, “Compete with Purpose,” is on their golf bags, and they also focus on the acronym HELP.
Aune said, “HELP stands for humility, excellence, love and passion. Golf is a very humbling game. Humility is a constant battle. Players need to be confident but humble. For excellence, every shot requires focus. We also want to love each other, loving the team and what we’re about. And everyone has a passion. They have to always want to do their best. Golf is a great life lessons sport that encourages integrity.”
As Mundahl and Saby look ahead to the remainder of the season, there are a few things they are focusing on. Mundahl is recovering from a shoulder injury and has recently started to feel back to normal. She hopes to crack down on her golf game as her shoulder improves.
She added, “Some of the team goals are to have everyone shoot their best, not get too down on themselves,and have a good pick-each-other-up mentality.”
Saby said, “My personal goals are to not get angry at myself on the golf course, improve on each shot and shoot the best I can. Our team goals are to play our best and hopefully come out as UMAC champions.”