Golfer Ben Greve has seen it all. Or rather, he’s seen it all somewhat from the sidelines.
As a fifth-year senior, Greve has ridden the rollercoaster that has been the recent history of the Minnesota men’s golf team. He just hasn’t really been a part of it until now.
Last spring, Greve, a native of Annandale, Minn., secured a spot in the lineup, and heads into this season with a sure spot on the team.
“He’s really solidified his spot in the lineup,” coach Brad James said.
Greve never sat back and passively enjoyed the rollercoaster ride. He endured anxiety and frustration along the way.
“He’s gone through a lot as far as trying to earn his spot,” assistant coach Andrew Tank said.
That might be an understatement.
For example, he underwent a coaching change after his first year, endured the possible elimination of the golf program in 2002 and watched the team win Big Ten Championships in 2002 and a national title in 2003.
All from the sidelines.
“Obviously things were happening to the golf program,” Tank said. “And from Ben’s perspective, he was happy. But I think it was probably tough for him to not be a part of that Ö he was again in the shadow.”
The elite group of golfers in the 2002 national championship team cast that shadow.
He had been on the cusp of the lineup for more than two years until finally earning playing time last spring, James said.
Greve, it could be said, is well-accustomed to the underdog role.
“I’ve always looked up to people,” Greve said of his new leadership role as fifth-year senior and captain. “Looking back on it, I learned a lot from them.”
Now, the young golfers will look up to Greve. The first fall-season meet will feature Greve, the solo senior, leading a lineup of a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors.
James said his experiences have prepared him for the challenge.
This last August, Greve qualified as the first alternate for the U.S. Amateur Championship, but he said he looks back on his summer game and his team’s spring finish with frustration.
“The summer as a whole was a little disappointing,” Greve said.
Chalk it up to his track record.
Last season’s team missed a chance to compete in the NCAA Championship by one stroke, though Greve finished in a tie for 30th.
This year, as he finally breaks into the lineup, he will look to capitalize on one of his strengths – his iron play – to perhaps realize his goal of becoming a first team All-American.
“It’s been fun to see him kind of transform from (a) freshman,” Tank said. “Now, he’s trying to do the same thing that those five guys, those seniors that have graduated, have done.”
Greve’s father reminisced about his son’s golf career as well.
After watching 5-year-old Ben Greve tag along with him to his job at a golf course, Dave Greve said one thing about his son’s career: “He doesn’t give up.”
Now, the tag-along gets his shot to be a part of a team. This time, he gets to play. Others can watch from the sidelines.