Masters of the Sweet Spot

Masters of the Sweet Spot

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Club Golf Has Got Its Game Together, and Then Some

IS IT SPRING YET? UNH golf team members, clockwise from lower left, are Ricky Wilson '14, Nate Fuller '13, Devin Garvey '15, Brian Prew '14, Dan Lawson '15, Ryan Fuller '12, Dave Harmon '13, Matt Dario '13, Chris Kinney '15, Ryan Hill '15, Greg Poggi '13, Sam Fuller '13, Matt Levins '13, Colin Barnea '14, Jim Quentin '14, Zack Dhionis '14 and co-captains Kurt Eddins '12 and Tyler Walsh '14 (center).

IS IT SPRING YET? UNH golf team members, clockwise from lower left, are Ricky Wilson '14, Nate Fuller '13, Devin Garvey '15, Brian Prew '14, Dan Lawson '15, Ryan Fuller '12, Dave Harmon '13, Matt Dario '13, Chris Kinney '15, Ryan Hill '15, Greg Poggi '13, Sam Fuller '13, Matt Levins '13, Colin Barnea '14, Jim Quentin '14, Zack Dhionis '14 and co-captains Kurt Eddins '12 and Tyler Walsh '14 (center). "We have been incomprehensibly successful at the collegiate level," says co-coach Jim Callahan, a PGA professional. "To win two tournaments in a year is good. To win nine out of 10 is almost unheard of."

Senior Kurt Eddins '12 admits his first year on UNH's club golf team was dismal. "My freshman year, we were horrible," he said. "We didn't win anything. Actually, we lost by a lot."

That's a far cry from where the team stands today. As of last fall, the team had recorded 15 tournament wins—in a row. And, depending on whom you talk to, the conference championship tournament that ended the team's winning streak—with a second-place finish—doesn't really count, since it was shortened to nine holes due to bad weather.

A number of fortuitous events have helped to turn the team's fortunes around. In his freshman year, Eddins agreed to be the new team captain, and took on reorganizing the group as a "personal challenge," he says.

Rick Wolchko, a PGA professional who has owned the Fore on 4 driving range and training center in nearby Lee for 12 years, joined as a co-coach. Wolchko also opened his facilities to the players for practice. He and Callahan are working with the team on swing mechanics as well as the mental side of the game. "As a golf pro, my goal my entire life has been to grow the game of golf," Wolchko says. "I love being able to mentor kids. I have found if they put the time in, they can improve extremely fast."

In addition, Pease Golf Course in Portsmouth opened its links to the team, donating hundreds of practice rounds and tournament time, Callahan says. "All these little pieces coming together almost have created the perfect storm," he notes. "We wouldn't have been as successful without all of this happening."

This year, some 50-plus students tried out for the team, which has defeated club teams from Boston University, Northeastern and UMaine.

"We really have come together as a team," says co-captain Tyler Walsh '14. "Now we just want to play golf."

Originally published by: 

UNH Magazine

Written by Rachel M. Collins '81. Photo by Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services.

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