Concordia’s Golf Team Shares Special Bond

How The Small Team Has Connected Through “The Chase to Always Become Better”

Golfers from Concordia’s club team had the opportunity to partake in the Spring Open and Canadian Nationals over the last month. Courtesy Brianna Thicke

On May 25, Stingers golf players Ryan Mitchell and Kevin Carter participated in the Beaconsfield Golf Club’s Spring Open. The members of the men’s golf team were on their home course in Pointe-Claire. Sitting in the dining room of the clubhouse along with coach Rodney Morgan, they shared their hopes for the upcoming season.

The team members are close; some met years ago through the golfing community, others on the Stingers team, but they all cultivated friendships. Mitchell, Carter, and Morgan were quick to praise their teammates, and speak of the strong bonds the players share.

“We all have each other’s backs,” said Mitchell. “If you need advice, or if you need to work on your game together, or if you need somebody to play with, we can always rely on the other members of the team to help each other out, so I think that’s pretty unique with our school.”

Mitchell spoke with passion about his sport. Practicing several hours a week, he is motivated to get results. In preparation for the Spring Open, Mitchell has been focused on improving his game.

He stated that he has had the opportunity to get a lot of practice on the field, as the Beaconsfield Golf Club is the team’s home course. Going into his fourth season with the Stingers, Mitchell likes golf because it is impossible to master.

“You can never become perfect at the game, it’s impossible,” said Mitchell. “[It’s] the chase to always become better, one way or another.”

From May 29 to June 1, amongst other players, Mitchell and Carter competed at the Canadian University and College National Championship in Chilliwack.

“For our team, I think our first goal would be to make the cut in the Nationals next week in Vancouver,” said Mitchell. “I think personally I’m looking to place at least in the top three in the individual scoring at the Nationals and hopefully win.”

Mitchell added that he also hoped to place in the top three at the Beaconsfield Spring Open. He performed well, finishing on par, and tied for sixth place overall.

While the sport is central, and the players take it seriously, the team’s biggest strength is their strong relationship.

“When you’re a Stingers golfer, you feel pride. You are part of the team; you are part of a bigger family.” —Maria Noriega, Stingers Golf Team

“It’s nice to perform well for your friends who are on the team,” stated Carter, “to make sure you don’t let them down.”

Morgan concurred, and stated that there is a real sense of community in the team. After playing five seasons for the Stingers, he transitioned to a coaching position this year.

“They’re all very hard working,” explained Morgan. “They’re not just selfish out there, they’re not just playing for themselves, they care about their teammates.”

Ultimately, the team didn’t meet the goal of making the cut at the Nationals, which encompassed both an individual and a team competition. In his individual score, Mitchell did not make the fourth round and, over the three rounds that he played, finished 11 over par.

Morgan said that the first day was quite rough for his team, and that it was too much of a deficit to recover from. He explained that the Nationals was one of the Stingers’ first tournament of the year, while some teams were well into their season. Along with the stress of travelling, the circumstances affected the players’ performance.

“Despite playing bad the first day, the team rallied,” said Morgan. “They put down a good effort, despite where they stood after day one. I was happy with their performance after that, and they didn’t give up.”

The men’s squad, composed of four players, was also cut after the third round, finishing 43 over par. However, Warren Sellors of the Stingers golf team finished two over par, tying him for 22nd place. His performance was consistent; he was under or on par for most of the tournament.

The Stingers golf team is smaller than other teams; there are five players on the men’s squad and four on the women’s.

“For the last couple of years,” explained Morgan, “a lot of the emphasis has been on the [men’s] team, but maybe the last year or so we’ve been trying to develop a better women’s program, too.”

Maria Noriega, an RSEQ All-Star golfer takes great pride in being a Concordia Stinger. Courtesy Brianna Thicke
,He added that the women’s team saw their best performance to date last year, with a few players having all-time lows in tournaments.

“Maria Noriega,” said Morgan about one of his players, “she was on the [Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec] all-star team, which means she was one of the best players in the circuit all year, consistently finishing in a good standing every tournament, so that was very positive.”

In her third year with the Stingers’ golf team, Noriega said that she takes pride in being part of the team.

“When you’re a Stingers golfer, you feel pride,” she said. “You are part of the team; you are part of a bigger family.”

Morgan stated that since the women’s squad is gaining momentum and more attention, it will attract more women athletes to apply.

“I like how close we are,” concluded Mitchell. “We like to have a good time, as well as golf. We all care about games a lot, and it shows in our scores.”