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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Five reasons not to ax the Mount golf programs

I was saddened to hear from an administrator and multiple non-golf coaches in the Mount athletic department this week that the men's and women's golf programs may be on the chopping block after the 2010 - 2011 season. As a five-year member (sophomore redshirt) of the men's golf team I was both hurt and baffled at why this would even be a consideration.

I don't know how much scholarship money the women's team receives but it's probably comparable to the barely-more-than one full scholarship that is doled up among the men's players. Combine that with the coaches salaries of somewhere around $12,500 each, and the school would be saving around $100,000 - $110,000, not including each team's (minute) budget.

One hundred Gs is not that much for a longstanding private institution such as the Mount. On top of that, there are many benefits that far outweigh the money that could be saved by axing the programs. Here are five of them:

1. Business purposes

Rest assured that if the golf teams were axed, Quail Valley would disassociate itself from the Mount. (More on that to come.) The golf course is a great place to do business and develop relationships. Many Mount coaches and employees enjoy spending time on the links and to take away the opportunity to do so at Quail Valley would be detrimental to one of the Mount's greatest avenues to get to know each other, as well as potential clients/donors/and alumni.

Just ask Tom Gosselin (women's soccer coach) and Rob Ryerson (men's soccer coach), who had their annual soccer scramble at the course last week. They may still be welcome in the future, but perhaps not with open arms.

2. Coaches like it

Coach Jim Phelan played golf, so does coach Milan Brown, and just this week coach Robert Burke told me he likes to play when he has the chance. Not to mention all the other head coaches and assistants that can be seen at Quail on occasion.

The ownership duo of brothers Colyn and Scott Keller charge a marginal price, if any, for Mount coaches and employees to tee it up no matter what time of day or day of the week they show up. We know that none of the coaches are getting paid very much for the NCAA Division I level (not even Burke), so the last thing they want to do is pay full price for a round of golf. Consider that money already being saved.

3. Both teams play and practice for free

As long as I was apart of the team, and all the time before I arrived in which Quail Valley was the team's official course, the Kellers have never charged the players or the school for the use of the facilities. Whether it's 6 a.m. or primetime on the weekends, if we as players wanted to use the driving range, practice green or play on the course (granted there was space) we were welcome to do so. If you think that's a common occurrence you don't understand college golf. Unless a school has its own course, which usually only applies to BCS schools, it has to pony up a few thousand dollars so that its team can get on the course, and that still does not grant them free reign in most cases. (Consider this money saved as well.)

Take, for example, fellow NEC member Long Island. Playing with one of their players, Rocky Co, in our home spring tournament held at Quail Valley, he was shocked to hear about all the access we have to the course. He told me that his team gets to play a course maybe twice a week and it has to wake up at 4 a.m. in order to beat the traffic on the way there. So relatively speaking, things could be worse.

Did I mention that LIU is the only fully-funded golf team in the conference and by far the most wealthy?

4. The Kellers are connected

Colyn may not have been the most organized coach (we had him for one year when I was a senior) and Scott (who is now the women's coach) wasn't a DI player like his brother, but they make up for those shortcomings in all the other areas. In addition to being the ones who allow our teams to have free reign of their course, they also give us a good reputation.

As childhood residents of Frederick and grandchildren to former New York Yankee Charlie Keller - they know some people around here. To upset them by cutting the golf team and essentially all ties to the course that has given so much to the school would not be wise.

5. Not taking up any space on campus

Last but certainly not least is the fact that neither golf team has any facilities whatsoever on campus. In case you're not familiar with Quail Valley Golf Club, it's in Littlestown, Pa. That's about 20 minutes from our Emmitsburg campus and well out of the way of the school. So why cut the one program that costs the school the least and takes up zero space in the same state as the school it represents? I have no idea either.


Am I biased? Of course I am. I spent five years with this program and it was the reason I came to the Mount. Not for the program itself (my first coach, who was there for three years before Colyn, and now Kevin Farrell, was a joke) but because it was the program that gave me the best opportunity to get playing time and receive a significant scholarship.

To take that away from me and all the other past players who cared would be a mistake for the reasons above. But even more than that, it would make me even less likely to support a school that can so easily discard the part of it that brought me to Emmitsburg.

If you'd like to show support or lend a hand, e-mail Scott Keller at He doesn't know I put his e-mail out there, so take the time to explain yourself.

If you'd like to play Quail Valley call 717-359-8453 to book a tee time.


Basil said...

The golfer should first go throw the golf lesson before playing the game. These golf lessons can be learned by purchasing the golf books in the market or through online. These books contain basic and key elements of the game and also provide rough copy to the learner on playing shots in the green ground.

Anonymous said...

None of your points make sense.

1) Do you think the people running the golf course don't realize what type of economic climate we are in right now? They will most definitely welcome the other teams with open arms because if they don't, another golf course will get their business.

If the Mount comes to them and says "We'd like to have a 120 golf fundraiser at your course that will bring you thousands of dollars in business," the course is NOT going to tell them to take a hike or they take another huge hit.

2) You think the Mount administration is really has "our staff will have to pay more for a round of 18" on their pro's and con's list? I'm pretty sure they are more thinking along the lines as "NCAA Golf is not a major sport and the amount of money we will have to put into it to make it a contender is better served elsewhere."

3) So they practice for free and it's still costing too much for the department? Even more reason to get rid of it.

4) The Mount is not thinking about getting rid of Golf as a personal vendetta against the golf course. It is a business decision. It would be different if, through these "ties," the Mount has been receiving donations that they will no longer receive. And IF those donations are enough to keep a team that is bleeding money, then you keep it. But if all they are receiving from these "ties" is free golf for a team they don't want anymore, then who cares? Cutting "ties" with someone that isn't producing should be a no brainer. It makes sense to say "Thank you for having us, but we can not sustain this team anymore," and promise to give them business in other ways such as functions and outings.

5) First off, you used the LIU analogy to say how great it is to not have to travel so far to practice. Now you're acting like a "20 minutes" that is "out of the way" is the worst commute in the world.

The fact that this program cost so little and produces even less is a prime reason to get rid of the sport. For their minimal investment, what have they gotten except a blogger that is very poor at proving his points?

For my last point, I will point out to your last paragraph. If the Mount Golf Alumni giving history was so great, they wouldn't have dropped it. Have you given back to the program that you loved so much? I am willing to bet that the Mount Golf Alumni giving is the worst out of all their sports, which is another reason to give the administration to drop the sport.

BG said...

I usually don't take the time to respond to anonymous cowards, but seeing as you probably work in the athletic department I'll say a few things.
First, I'll concede that you have some valid points and that there are holes in some of my arguments, but not as many as yours.
The very things you use to argue that golf should be cut make it even less attractive of a candidate.
Why cut out the cheapest sport that takes up the least room on campus (none, to be exact) with the lowest coaches salaries? In addition, privileges at the course WILL disappear. And while that may not seem like a big deal and, as you stated, is probably not at the forefront of this decision for the administration, it does bring something that none of the other sports can.
No one is allowed to use the other facilities at the Mount, but Quail Valley is a public golf course that Mount personnel can access for free or at a great discount. Cutting ties with the course, and more importantly the entire golf program makes no sense.
Lastly, you completely misinterpreted my point on the course being 20 minutes from school. That's not a complaint, that was to show that it's actually closer and more convenient than some schools have it. Not to mention that it has ZERO interference with campus property. Read more carefully and get back to your desk job.