Men’s golf head coach Gary Bissell reflects on last season, welcomes talented recruiting class



Holly Bihlman, Staff Reporter

As the golf team has wrapped up their fall season at GVSU, the very young golfers will be working diligently towards a better season next year. The team has the No. 1 recruiting freshman class in the country right now, but that doesn’t necessarily solidify a team’s first place standing unless the new golfers can learn to translate their skills to a college level. GVSU is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA division 2 with a score of 72.97 and three freshman in the top five.

“It’s a great sign,” said GVSU coach Gary Bissell. “They are still freshman and the important thing is that we develop them. Just being the No. 1 recruiting class is great, but the goal would be that in two or three years from now they’re the number one team in the country. We’re not going to become the No. 1 team just because they’re great freshman, they’re going to have to develop and get better as well.”

With that being said, freshman Charles DeLong, named GLIAC Men’s Golfer of the Week, had a fantastic fall season and proved himself to be a promising player on the team for next season. DeLong took first place at the last Panther Invitational at Davenport University, with a score of 134 overall. GVSU placed second behind Ashland, leaving them with an acceptable finisher for the season. DeLong has worked hard all season, but Bissell knows how to train all the new freshman to play an even better game next season. 

“Charlie DeLong is our best player,” Bissell said. “He was the 75th ranked player in the country coming out of high school. He was a really elite level prospect; I would say as with every great player we’ve ever had, the skill is there but the number one thing that separates them is their competitiveness and their drive. As cliché as that sounds, Charlie wants to be the best and he just hates losing more than he likes winning.” 

Now that the fall season is over, the team has some downtime during the winter to prepare for the coming season in the spring. Bissell is looking forward to working with the new freshman and building the most elite team in the country, considering their current No. 1 recruiting class. During this offseason, Bissell says they are going to be focusing on stamina and getting used to the much longer rounds and more traveling that comes with a college level team. 

“A lot of it is going to be simple skill work,” Bissell said. “We had a real issue finishing rounds this fall. We would play great for 12-13 holes and then finish poorly, and I think a lot of that was due to the fact that as a freshman you’re not used to this amount of travel. When you’re in high school, you’re not playing the same length of tournaments. High school tournaments are usually 18 holes and college tournaments are usually 54 holes. A lot of it is that mental fortitude and stamina.” 

Looking towards the future for the men’s golf team, their next season will be even better than this season, due to the time they are going to dedicate to working hard on their offseason. The next few months will be crucial to the success of the team, and there is no doubt Bissell will lead them to victory.