Wildcats golf team get set for NCAA Regionals

MARQUETTE — When you think of Northern Michigan athletics, hockey and football are a big deal. But the men’s golf team are making noise, as they will be taking part in the NCAA Regionals next week for only the second time in program history.

“We got super excited. Everyone on the got really happy. And we’re just excited to have the option to go to nationals and compete with the best teams in the nation,” said junior Emil Lundgren.

“It’s pretty cool just because of the climate that we’re in. I think when the golf program wasn’t as successful, nobody really thought much of it because that’s how it’s supposed to be when you’re at NMU and in Marquette. But we kind of proved that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are certain ways around the weather and really it’s all about the kids and the championship mindset and the preparation and that’s what we’ve work on,” head coach Kyle Wittenbach said.

One of the ways around the unpredictable weather is the ability to practice indoors using a golf simulator that has helped the players immensely.

“Coming in, I played my own type of high school game. And then Coach helped me transition to more of a college-level playing, more of a lower shot and working on my trajectories and all kinds of shot, to take me from that average good player to the next elite level,” said sophomore Austin Elsner.

“It’s pretty big, just in terms of keeping the kids excited during the off-season allowing them to practice. And then also just recruiting-wise. It helps a lot to be able to tell incoming freshman that here’s this awesome simulator that we have where we practice our short game. We use the Dome to hit almost-golf balls throughout the Dome. It’s a lot of fun. The kids love that,” Wittenbach said.

The NCAA Regionals will begin in Allendale this Monday through Wednesday.