Weather not stopping Notre Dame golfers from practicing


GREEN BAY — The Notre Dame boys golf team has yet to play a practice round of golf because the weather has not been good enough for a local course to open.

Nonetheless, that is not stopping the Tritons from preparing for the season.

Notre Dame is doing whatever it can to get ready for the season and coach Brian Bobinski has had the team run to and from Lambeau Field (3 miles) and lift weights.

Wednesday, though, Bobinski had his players competing. The players set up an 18-hole mini-golf course that traveled through hallways, the library and lobby of the school.

At this time of the year, teams need to be imaginative.

This is one way the Notre Dame boys golf team is preparing for the season. Inclement weather has forced teams to adjust their practice routine.

"This is my 13th season and last year and this year are the first years we've actually had to go through this kind of process, so it has been interesting,” Bobinski said. “It's been fun in a way. It challenges yourself in a way to keep the kids interested; kind of helps them prepare for the season."

The players admit it’s different.

"Definitely hard to focus on trying to play for a score because this feels a whole lot different than it would actually swinging a golf club on every hole instead of just putting,” junior Jack Ritchay said.

Some of the members of the team traveled south during spring break to get some rounds in, but now they’re back home, waiting. This past winter was brutal in terms of snow and temperature so the players are not surprised practicing outside has not happened yet.

"I expected this,” senior Ben Wagner said. “I kind of saw it coming when the snow wasn't going away. It's not really frustrating, it's a chance to get with the team.”

"It gets us mentally prepared and once we get outdoors we'll hit the ground running and be ready to go," senior Connor O’Neil said.

When Notre Dame finally starts playing golf outside (its first tournament is scheduled for April 16 at the Irish Course in Kohler), it knows as the end of the season approaches it will be faced with a new challenge.

Notre Dame has participated at the Division 2 level but this year is moving up to Division 1. The bad news is Division 1 is normally more difficult to win a state title. Cedarburg won the Division 1 title last year with 598 strokes over two days and Catholic Memorial won the Division 2 title with a score of 616.

Notre Dame placed third in Division 2 last year with 628 strokes and won the state title in 2011 with a total of 601.

The good news is 16 teams make the Division 1 state field, while Division 2 has an eight-team tournament. Notwithstanding, the players aren’t sweating over it.

"It'll be more difficult but it'll be a lot of fun playing against some better competition,” O’Neil said.

"Expectations will always remain the same, no matter what division we are,” Ritchay said. “We always expect to get down to state and always expect to compete at state."

And the road to state begins now, even if it means putting in your high school lobby, hallways and library.

 Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay