Women’s golf prepare for a competitive spring season

Senior+Tristyn+Nowlin+watches+her+approach+shot+during+the+Medina+Invitational.+Though+she+is+in+her+final+year+at+the+Univesity%2C+Nowlin+looks+to+lead+the+team+to+success+before+she+turns+professional+after+graduating.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Senior Tristyn Nowlin watches her approach shot during the Medina Invitational. Though she is in her final year at the Univesity, Nowlin looks to lead the team to success before she turns professional after graduating.

By Josh Pietsch, Staff Writer

After over three months without competing, the Illini women’s golf team will hit the greens for competition during the first weekend in February. The long offseason had the ladies putting in work together, as well as taking time to get better on their own.

After finishing third out of 18 teams in the Landfall Tradition in late October, the Illini began their break between the fall and spring seasons. Following an accomplished fall, head coach Renee Slone and her team saw aspects they wanted to work on during their offseason. From mechanics on the green to focusing on themselves and resting, the ladies worked on things to put themselves in a good position to start the spring season. 

“We had each team member create a plan, so it was very individualized,” Slone said. “But also using that opportunity to rest and recharge as well because we have a full schedule ahead of us this spring.”

“Just working on the areas that we were able to be picky with over break that we weren’t necessarily able to make changes on during the fall is something we focused on,” said senior Tristyn Nowlin.

Their offseason was highlighted by a trip to Orlando, Florida to practice on the course they will be competing on in their next invite. The ladies golfed against each other and not only got used to the course but were able to golf on the course in playable conditions. 

“We were able to go down to Florida and got to hit off some real grass which a couple of us haven’t been able to do for about a full month,” Nowlin said. “Coach was really smart in getting us down there to put us back in the competitive mindset.”

Even with a trip to Florida, the women haven’t been able to compete against other teams in over three months. Along with the break comes a chance to improve on things, but not golfing competitively can lead to a slow start to begin the season.

“We haven’t played in a tournament in over three months, and that really is a large chunk of time,” Slone said. “Getting into that competitive mode again is gonna be super important to shake off the rust, and I think the trip down to Florida really helped with that.”

Stepping back into a competitive mindset following the break is also a priority for the Illini.

“Not being in that competitive mindset for basically three months, that is a bit of a change,” Nowlin said. “For a lot of us, that can really change our approach, it can change our routine and our mentality, so I think it was smart of coach to get us down to Florida to get ready.” 

Nowlin, the lone senior on the team, will golf in her final season as an Illini this spring before going pro. Despite wanting to accomplish things on her own and leave her career at Illinois on a high note individually, she is focused on the team’s success this season. 

”I don’t want to look back and say you know I wish I could have done this or that, I just want to enjoy my time here with what is my second family and go out on top with them,” Nowlin said. 

Nowlin and her team have a full plate for the spring season, which includes six weekends of competing before the Big Ten Championship in late April. The Illini begin their spring by competing in the University of Central Florida Challenge, which will be held by the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida on February 2-4.

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