Last spring, the Elizabethtown College men’s golf team and Head Coach Jim Reed were united. Reed, an accomplished and well-known golf name in the central Pennsylvania area, took over the men’s golf program on March 4 and coached the Blue Jays in five tournaments last spring.
“He knows more about the golf swing than anyone I know,” sophomore Chuck Johnston said. “He goes out of his way to make sure everyone on the team is in a situation where they can succeed. He always thinks about others before he thinks of himself.”
Senior Ryan Laudeman said, “Jim is a great coach. He’s always there with good advice and really loves working with us. He always stresses the importance of school first before golf. He’s been a great influence on the team, and we’re very lucky to have him as a coach.”
With six returners and four newcomers, the Blue Jays will look to expand on their success of last season this fall.
The team is scheduled to compete in six tournaments this fall from September through the middle of October. They will resume play in the spring, golf’s normal season, and play more tournaments at that time.
Laudeman has anchored the Blue Jays team over the last three seasons and will continue to do so this year as Etown’s most experienced and successful golfer. Laudeman turned in six top 10 finishes in tournaments last year, including a tie for seventh at the Commonwealth Conference Championships. His best finish of the year came at the Gettysburg Fall Invitational where he shot one over par and tied for second out of 69 golfers.
“Well, since the Landmark Conference doesn’t recognize golf as a varsity sport, this season really doesn’t mean much for us seniors,” Laudeman said. “I would love to win a few tournaments in the fall and spring and end my collegiate career with a couple of wins. We are playing some courses I really enjoy playing at, so I’m looking forward to hopefully competing at the top in every tournament.”
Also returning for the Blue Jays is Johnston, who finished 19th out of 93 golfers in his first collegiate tournament last fall. Johnston struggled to finish in the top half of the field throughout the course of last season.
“My big goal this season is to be more consistent,” Johnston said. “I had too many bad rounds to really have a scoring average that I was happy with. I want to have a scoring average between 78 and 80.”
Aside from Johnston and Laudeman, the returners include seniors Isaac Bingamin and Ryan Forbes, junior Adam Amspacher and sophomore Kyle Hakun. Four first-years contribute to the roster for this upcoming season: Craig Eidle, Chris Heuer, Brian Priebe and Adam Strayton. They look to provide a boost to the Blue Jays in their first collegiate seasons.
“We have a very young group of guys. We need low numbers out of our underclassmen if we want to contend in tournaments,” Johnston said. “One of our goals is to get more experience under our belts. We also have a great group of seniors. Our other goal would be to send our seniors out on a high note.”
Bingamin, Forbes and Laudeman would like to go out on top in their final season on the course for the Blue Jays.
“We would love to compete in a few tournaments this year. We’re a young team, so trying to get some of the first-years in tournaments is important to building our team,” Laudeman said.
Laudeman, Hakun and Amspacher held the lowest averages last year and look to individually improve this year to put the team in better positions to win tournaments.
Laudeman started off the season the way he hoped, shooting three over par for a second place finish in the Marywood Quad-Match on Tuesday. The Blue Jays finished third out of four teams in the match. Forbes finished in a tie for eighth place, the only other Etown golfer to finish in the top 10 on the day. Other top 20 finishers for the Blue Jays included Amspacher (tied for 12th), Eidle (17th) and Priebe (20th). Etown’s next match will be on Tuesday at the Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg, Pa.