Gophers focus on putting

Minnesota will compete in Florida for the second time in a month.

Freshman Celia Kuenster swings at the Minikahda Club on Sept. 16, 2014, at the Minnesota Invitational.

Daily File Photo, Alex Tuthill-Preus

Freshman Celia Kuenster swings at the Minikahda Club on Sept. 16, 2014, at the Minnesota Invitational.

Brad Bobel

After their lackluster performance in the UCF Challenge, the Gophers used their three-week break to regroup and focus on the upcoming Miami Hurricane Invitational.

Despite the tie for eighth place in Orlando earlier this month, freshman Sabrine Garrison said the tournament helped shine a light on what they needed to improve.

“The first tournament really showed us where we need to improve our game,” Garrison said. “We responded well.”

During their break, the Gophers mainly worked on aspects of their short game, like putting and chipping.

“We know what we need to work on. We worked really hard on putting, and we’re all ready to go,” freshman Celia Kuenster said.

However, golf is a tough sport to practice in Minnesota in the winter.

Minnesota practices what it can indoors, but it’s impossible to simulate the conditions that will occur in tournaments. One condition that is tough to simulate is putting, which the team struggled with in the last tournament.

“I think we need to be outside more, need to practice more,” head coach Michele Redman said about the Gophers’ putting struggles. “[Last course] was one of those courses where putting was key.”

To fix the issue, the team has worked with a mental golf coach and has done drills in practice.

“It’s tough being inside, but we’ve been working with VISION54 and done some drills to get that same practice,” Garrison said.

VISION54’s mission statement includes “embracing the notion that every individual has unlimited potential.”

The company’s philosophy is that it is key for the golfers to have their physical, technical, mental, emotional, social and spirit-of-the-game elements come together in balance.

The mental aspect of the game is vital in overcoming obstacles, and using VISION54 is a start.

“We need to keep doing … the mental work that we’ve been doing. Nothing needs to change,” Redman said.

An obstacle Garrison faced was that she wasn’t able to play the practice round, as she came a day later than the rest of the team.

“Garrison struggled in the first tournament more than she would have liked, but she hadn’t been on the grass at all,” Redman said. “But her swing is back to where we would like it, and I’m excited to watch her.”

Garrison finished 13-over par in the team’s last tournament, placing last among her teammates, but she looks to put the past tournament behind her and get back on the tees.

“I’m looking forward to getting outside and the opportunity to practice and play,” Garrison said. “We’ve been working some technical stuff here, but now we need to take it out on the course.”