Golf, as a sport, may seem to lack the tenacity of the basketball court, or the high-octane action that football brings to the field. Most may even find the game dull and boring to watch on television due to its slow pace and long hours of competition. For those who think that the sport of golf is a walk in the park, though, think again.
For golf fans, players, and athletes around the world, what draws them to the game goes far beyond the physical. First and foremost, golf is a mental sport, requiring hours, months, even years in order for one to play a good game of 18 holes. It entails a great deal of patience and practice, constant repetition and mastery of your swing on the tee, and putting on the green. And even when one’s mastered his or her swing, it’s still not an assurance of playing well day in and day out. One must know how to read the course, and play with the wind’s direction and intensity.
Although unknown to many in the Lasalllian community, the DLSU Golf Team has been around for quite some time now. The reason many may not be aware is because golf is a non-UAAP sport.
Founded in 2004 by the De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA), the team has since garnered multiple championships in various tournaments, including a three-peat championship run in the Philippine InterCollegiate Golf Championships, touted as the premiere collegiate tournament in the country.
To know more about the team’s recent developments, The LaSallian spoke with Team Captain Iñigo Raymundo (IV, CIV) and members Charles Corpuz (IV, BSA) and Anton Pastoriza (II, AB-PSY) about their passion for the sport and being in the DLSU Golf Team.
From a hobby to a lifestyle
Given the University’s lack of resources, the team regularly trains in golf courses such as Villamor Golf Course and Northwoods Golf & Country Club. They also play in different courses around the country to prepare for different tournaments throughout the year. Apart from the InterCollegiate Championship, other tournaments include the ICTSI-JGFP (Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines) Inter School Golf Championships, and an upcoming Ryder Cup-style competition versus fierce rival ADMU this month. These tournaments, Raymundo mentions, vary in terms of divisions in age groups.
Meanwhile, when asked about how golf differs from the more popular sports in the country, Corpuz muses on how golf applies to real life situations and dealing with circumstances. “For me, golf is a lifestyle. The thing[s] you do on a daily basis, you apply in the golf course.” Alluding to how one approaches the game to life, deciding whether to approach a par-5 hole with a long drive, or playing it safe with measured strokes to get to the green, Corpuz compares this as a way of making life decisions when faced with the choices and the risks that go with it.
What started as a simple hobby playing against his brother, titos, and lolos, helped shape and evolve the competitive spirit in Corpuz growing up.
Golf, Raymundo shares, is, “a different kind of sport mostly due to the challenge it brings… The other 70 or 100 athletes in the field are not [your] real competitors. Rather, [the competitors are] the course and yourself.”
Playing in the same arena, like basketball, where playing conditions are controlled and fixed, is something golfers do not enjoy. Raymundo asserts, “[We] have to face the challenge of taking on different courses having their very own [separate] identities each time.”
Given this dimension of facing the golf course, each player notes the need for one to be mentally fit. “You can play golf whatever level you are, but it takes something else to really compete,” Pastoriza explains. Likewise, he echoes his coach’s sentiments about golf, saying, “[It] is a game that is one percent physical and 99 percent mental, and only with that will one be ready to compete.”
A gentleman’s game
Perhaps one of the most common phrases used to describe golf is that it is a “gentleman’s game”. Apart from being construed as the sport of choice for men when closing in on a business deal, it comes as no accident as to why this has become the norm. A telling aspect of the sport is the expectation that each player counts his own scorecard during play.
Pastoriza resounds this ideal the sport imbibes, saying, “There’s a lot of sportsmanship and I think golfers are the epitome of gentlemen. The virtues that golfers have are what most people strive to have.”
When asked what it takes to be a good golfer, all three mention the need to be mentally strong, coupled with the attitude of honesty and patience. As Raymundo insists, “There are different ways to play the sport, but to be a really good golfer, I think the best way is to be honest. At the end of the day, once you cheat in a golf course, it’s stuck with you forever.”
Similarly, Pastoriza adds that patience is what an aspiring golfer needs in order to become great. “In the beginning, [yes], it’s fun to hit the ball, but once you get past that level, it’s almost annoying and you would want to quit every time you play. No matter what level you are and you [notice] one tiny improvement, it just makes you want to come back again and again.”