Teeing off on the competition

Fall athletics usually bring a lot of attention to the Ferris State football and hockey programs, but the men’s golf team has silently been making waves under a new coach.

In what has been a fantastic start to the beginning of the team’s 2016-2017 season, Bulldog golf has dominated their competition, grabbing first place for four straight tournaments. Last week saw the Dawgs claim the Midwest Regional title in Missouri before finally finishing off the fall portion of the season Monday, Oct. 18.

Jack Weller is a junior on the team and has consistently been a top performer for the Dawgs. Weller said that he is already excited to get the spring season rolling.

“We are very proud of this season and we have all put in a lot of hard work to get us this far,” Weller said. “I think the best thing we can do as a team is stay focused throughout the winter and push each other to continue practicing even when we can’t get outside.”

Weller spoke highly of new head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams Kyle Wittenbach, a 2012 Ferris State alumnus. Wittenbach returned to Big Rapids and took over this year after serving as the head coach at Northern Michigan University until 2014.

“Personally I have enjoyed getting to know the new coach,” Weller said. “I think I can speak for the rest of the men’s team when I say we have really enjoyed the first fall season with Coach Kyle and are excited for the spring season, he is a great coach.”

Wittenbach has also made great impacts in other parts of the game as well according to junior Ryan Bayer, who finished 17th overall in the Midwest Regional Invite.

“Coach Wittenbach has been a good addition to our team, and his new outlook on workouts, practice and playing in tournaments in general has helped all of us on the men’s team tremendously,” Bayer said. “He helps us stay more focused on the course and pushes us to accomplish what we are capable of.”

Bayer might be on to something when it comes to Wittenbach’s contributions to success as the Dawgs have a consistent group of men who have been near the top on any given day.

“On the course, all of us guys who play in the starting five have the capability of going low,” Bayer said. “This helps out a lot because most teams only have one, maybe two of these players. So even if one guy has an off day, we know the fifth guy will be right up there helping out still.”

Taking the place of former coach Mike Mignano who took Ferris to the Division II NCAA Tournament in all nine years of his Bulldog tenure may not be easy but Wittenbach has made it look as simple as 6-inch putt.

After a long winter hibernation, the Ferris State men’s golf team will be resuming this season’s play at the SVSU Spring Invitational Saturday, March 18, in Georgetown, Kentucky.