By (James Ogletree)

When Noah Beatty enrolled at The University of Alabama, he was seeking a way to continue playing golf competitively without the commitment or time constraints of being a part of the Division I program. As it turns out, the club golf team was exactly what Beatty needed, perhaps in more ways than he expected.

When asked to name one freshman who had especially benefitted from the team and shown personal growth, club president Daniel Ayre mentioned Beatty.

“I think being an executive member and being in charge of people definitely is kind of the biggest thing,” Beatty said. “It’s not necessarily club golf related, it’s just being in a leadership role.”

He also believes working at the First Tee, a program devoted to mentoring young children in golf and teaching them life lessons, is a key factor in the development of his leadership skills.

“[It’s] just learning how to deal with kids as well as learning how to be a leader on the team,” Beatty said.

Ayre also noticed a marked difference in most of last year’s freshmen, not just Beatty.

“The majority of the freshmen from last year have really come out of their shells,” Ayre said.

Ayre was quick to add that he himself had also grown, though. He explained that being the team’s president forced him to transition from a quiet bystander to an active and outgoing leader.

The club’s advisor, English professor Brock Guthrie, mentioned how much he enjoys watching members of the team, such as Ayre and Beatty, mature.

“If you get a chance to stick with them for a four-year career, the differences are just really amazing,” Guthrie said.

Although tryouts have already passed for the fall semester, Ayre encourages anyone who wishes to continue their competitive golf career to try out in the spring.

“Everyone’s welcome to play; we’re going to be really competitive pretty much from this point on,” he said.

Both Ayre and Beatty also emphasized that motivation and willingness to devote time to practice are paramount to the team’s success.

Organized practice opportunities are limited every weekend from the team’s Sept. 4 tryouts through Oct. 2, due to qualifiers and regional tournaments.

“I try and stress [that] it’s up to you if you want to put the work in and put the time in,” Ayre said. “You have the opportunity to get out there, and it’s really up to you.”

Neither Ayre nor Beatty hesitated to point out that this philosophy led to a second-place finish out of 256 teams in the national championship last year. They’re hoping to improve a spot this time around.

“I think we’re going to have almost a better team than last semester and I think we’re going to have a chance to win it,” Ayre said.

The team is about more than just winning tournaments, though. Beatty said his most memorable team moment came last year as the team was on its way to a tournament in Georgia.

“We were in the middle of nowhere in the mountains in north Georgia, and we had a condo for all 16 of us,” Beatty said. “That was kind of a mess, but we had a great time.”

In Beatty’s mind, being able to switch between intense focus and laid-back fun is the best way to ensure success on the golf course and a more cohesive team off the course.

“We want it to be fun and lowkey,” Beatty said, “but we’re definitely competitive when the time comes.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports