The CWU Golf Club is transitioning from a club team to a varsity team. Caleb Bryant has been a part of the club for two years now and he’s excited for the first steps toward this transition.
“We’re in conversations with President Gaudino,” Bryant said. “There’s not really a DII GNAC league. It’s more of community colleges, DII teams and DIII teams all competing in one league.”
According to Bryant, there are several roadblocks for the club in trying to become a varsity program.
If they were to become a varsity program, it would take away some of the club aspects, including playing golf simply for fun and encouraging novice golfers to come out improve their game.
There’s also the matter of scholarships. There are a limited number for varsity sports at CWU. Giving the golf team scholarships would take them away from others, raising the question of how scholarship funds would be redistributed.
Title IX would also play a factor in golf becoming a varsity sport. Title IX requires an equal distribution of scholarship money to men and women.
Right now, there’s only one woman in the golf club. There would need to be more women participating to create equal scholarships for the golf club.
“Having a girl on the team is a big step for us,” Bryant said. “It gives the community and university recognition that girl’s golf is actually going to become a bigger thing throughout Central.”
The process of becoming a varsity sport isn’t the only big thing that’s happening in CWU Golf. They’re also sending several members of their roster to the National Invitational this month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Garrett Granlund is the president of the CWU Golf Club, and he’s excited to showcase CWU Golf on the national stage. He knows that playing well at Nationals can bring more attention to the golf program.
“We’ve gone to back-to-back Nationals,” Granlund said. “The team’s looking really good and we hope to keep progressing forward.”
CWU qualified for the National Invitational by playing well in their two tournaments this fall, which took place in Richland, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. CWU was the highest scoring team in their region after those two tournaments, which allowed them to qualify for Nationals.
What makes CWU winning their region particularly impressive is that they can thrive in a cold weather environment. Unlike their competition in California, CWU Golf can’t play year -round.
“All those Arizona schools golf year round,” Granlund said. “We have to take a few months off in the winter.”
CWU might be tucked away in the northwest, but they have schools in the Northeast and Midwest that are still considered a part of their region. Because the governing body of collegiate golf recognizes that some areas of the country have a weather disadvantage, they allow those schools to form together as a region.
Despite their incredible recent accomplishments, CWU Golf doesn’t actually hold regular mandatory practices.
Grandlund explains that whenever everyone can get out and play, they’ll make it happen. Normally the club practices at the Ellensburg Golf & Country Club, but they recently made a deal with Suncadia-based private course Tumble Creek that will allow them to use their course.
The Golf Club primarily operates during the spring and the fall. There are two tournaments each season and potentially Nationals as well, if they qualify. Winter months have to be taken off due to the inclement weather.
The club is extremely excited for what they future holds in the program. They would love to see you be a part of it. If you’d like to try-out for the golf club, you have a couple opportunities to become a part of the team. Tryouts are primarily held at the beginning of fall quarter and the beginning of spring quarter.
Plenty of CWU golfers take the sport very seriously, as they treat it more as a primary sport than a hobby. Bryant knew this was what he wanted to do in college as soon as he got here.
“I have played golf with my dad ever since I was alive,” Bryant said. “Golf was going well for me, so I thought, what could I do next?”
He’s looking to continue his personal golf success and CWU success at the National Invitational.
If you’d like to cheer on your fellow Wildcat golfers, you can watch the tournament online. CWU will tee off Nov. 17 at 9 a.m., and it will be streamed live on Golfchannel.com.
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