The Mississippi College men’s golf team is set to start their spring season on Monday, Feb. 26, at Spring Hill College for the Badger Invitational. The team is coached by John McMath, who recently retired from the mathematics department at Mississippi College.
Over the last several years, McMath has seen many differences in the program since he began his coaching career here almost 13 years ago. McMath was asked by athletic director Mike Jones to coach the team, but under unique circumstances: “I was asked to help raise some funds to support a golf team for three years.” If the team could make it those three years on donated funds, they would reinstitute the golf program at MC. The efforts were successful. Almost a decade later, golf is a thriving program on the campus of Mississippi College.
Like many coaches at MC, one significant change McMath noted was the transition he witnessed when the Choctaws went from Division III to Division II. “Moving from Division III to Division II has allowed us to give scholarships.” McMath explained that he has had some good teams in the past, but there’s no denying that the GSC is a league that is very good at golf. Assistant coach and former Choctaw Ethan Doan said, “there are five teams in the GSC that are in the top 50 in the country,” which makes for some stiff competition for the Choctaws, who sit at 93.
Last spring, the Choctaws were successful, bringing home a road win from the Buccaneer Spring Classic in Southaven, Miss. They were also able to claim a victory at home in the Mississippi College Spring Invitational. Those wins last Spring have given the team the motivation to work toward the same – or even better – results this year.
Zach Anderson, a junior on the golf team, expressed his excitement for the spring season to begin. “We have a pretty solid team; we should be able to qualify for regionals,” he said. Anderson started playing golf at the age of 5, when his dad began taking him to the course. “My dad was kind of my coach growing up,” he said.
Anderson has a few personal goals for the upcoming season. “I want to qualify for every tournament and have a scoring average under 76,” he said. Anderson also emphasized the quality of the competition within the GSC conference, saying “everyone’s good.” Despite the steep competition, Anderson feels that his team is good enough to make it far and finish in the top five of the conference.
As for preparation, Anderson said that golf off-seasons are pretty short. “We end our Fall season in November, and we start practicing for spring around the third week of January.” During the short period of time that they do have off, the team does some resting and focuses more on their time in the gym. Once it’s time for the season to start, though, it’s all course work.
“Last year, the golf program had its best year yet,” Anderson said. He is completely confident that he and his teammates will be able to break more scoring records this season and win some tournaments. “When we became DII, I don’t think anyone really feared MC, but now that the coaches have done what they have, we are definitely contenders and we are definitely a threat.”
Coach McMath encourages everyone to come support the golf team later in the season as they host their spring invitational tournament at Lake Caroline Golf Club, in Madison, Miss.