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Club golf becomes newest team on campus

Sophomore T.J. Long helped start the Mercer club golf team in order to gain recognition from the varsity program. Photo courtesy of T.J. Long.
Sophomore T.J. Long helped start the Mercer club golf team in order to gain recognition from the varsity program. Photo courtesy of T.J. Long.


Sophomore T.J. Long and junior Nathan Hahn wanted to try out for Mercer’s men’s golf team.

But when they weren’t given the chance to do so, they took matters into their own hands. If they wanted to continue playing golf competitively, they’d need to come up with an alternative themselves.

“‘Why not just start a club team?’” Hahn said the duo thought to themselves.

So that’s exactly what they did. In order to become an official club, Hahn had to meet with Todd Thomas, Mercer’s assistant director of recreational sports and wellness. Thomas laid out the steps Hahn and Long needed to take.

“I needed to make sure we had people that actually wanted to play, [and] we have to come up with a constitution on why we’re doing this — our purpose,” Hahn, the club’s president, said.

An example constitution was sent from the National Collegiate Club Golf Association, the league which Mercer’s team will have to join to start playing in tournaments. According to the NCCGA’s website, over 350 colleges have club golf teams; seven universities in Georgia have contracts with the organization.

But Mercer has not officially signed with the NCCGA yet because Hahn and Long are still trying to determine where the team will practice. They’ve been in contact with Healy Point Country Club about setting up an arrangement.

“They were pretty open to it, but we’re still waiting on the number for the yearly fee it’s going to be for us,” Hahn said. “We’re thinking we’ll hopefully be able to go walk for free there.”

Because of conflicting class schedules, individual teammates will practice on their own time, but Long and Hahn said they will still most likely try to go out together when possible.  

Once the team has a place to practice, Hahn said they will begin signing up for tournaments. While a tournament this semester is still a possibility, he said they will “definitely” be playing in one by next semester.

Playing and traveling to those tournaments costs money. Hahn said club sports has given the team a budget for the first year, but Long said he believes the five people who travel to tournaments may have to come out of pocket for traveling expenses.

“I think what’s going to end up happening is they’ll pay for the tournament, and we may be able to work out the hotel and stuff like that, but as far as traveling and gas goes, I think we’ll all have to take one [or] two cars, chip in ourselves and pay for that ourselves,” Long said.

Membership fees will be the cost of two shirts, approximately $60 according to Hahn. Right now, the team has received interest from about seven or eight people. Anyone is welcome to join until the team grows too large — about 15 or more people, according to Long. In that case, the club will hold tryouts.

A tryout is ultimately what Long is striving for himself — on the varsity team.

“I want to get noticed in club golf at tournaments so maybe one day here at Mercer I might be able to be on the varsity team,” Long said.



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