At Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) players and coaches on the Men’s Golf Team not only look to compete at a high level on the Golf Course, but also strive academically. These young athletes are developed physically, socially, and are a lettered young group of men.
The Golf team at EMCC currently has eight players. Two of them are returning players from last season: Corey Knight and Richard Lahaie.
"Estrella Mountain competes against other Maricopa Community College Golf teams, such as Scottsdale Community College, South Mountain Community College, Mesa Community College, and Eastern Arizona College, which is located in Thatcher, Arizona, among other schools in the state. “ says coach Eccles.
Preparation for the season begins in early September; players will golf three to four times a week and play 18 holes of golf on those days, depending on their schedule. During practice, players will work on their short game, which consists of chip shots, putting, and bunker control, among others. Hitting off the tee and game management are also substantial.
Corey Knight, a second year student and player at EMCC, says he expects to “play to his capability, win Regionals, and make it to Nationals.” Being a member of the golf team gives Knight the opportunity to meet other golfers and pursue scholarships to Division I and Division II universities.
The golf team may have fresh faces, but it has a pretty strong group of athletes, according to Knight. Knight averages an even par on a par-72 course.
An even-par is a score that matches the amount of strokes a player should use for one hole or for a round. For example, if par on a hole is 3, and it takes three strokes to complete, then that is even for that hole. If a par for a course is 72, and it takes 72 strokes, then it is an even-par round.
Eccles served as the boys’ golf coach for 14 years at Westview High School and helped lead his teams to seven top 10 state finishes. Eccles is now in his third year as the head coach of the men’s golf team at EMCC. He also helped send former student Ian Dunn to Nationals during his first year as coach at EMCC.
“The Philosophy of the team is about helping each other on improving the games, and seeing where we can get better,” says Eccles about how he prepares his players for the season.
Eccles expects his players to gain experience, have a strong work ethic, obtain good grades, and challenges his players to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Some of the requirements for the golf program are a minimum GPA of 3.0, high school golf experience, and a successful Junior Golf Record. Anyone interested in joining the team can fill out a Golf Interest Form located on the EMCC website at www.estrellamountain.edu/students/athletics/.