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Dinos Golf wraps up impressive year with first nationals trip

By Riley Stovka, June 20 2022

When you think about the sports that the University of Calgary Dino’s thrive at, you might think of football or basketball. After all, both of these Dino’s teams have won National Championships in the last half decade. However, this past academic year a new Dino’s team has sprung onto centre stage by beating long-standing rivals and winning big tournaments. Enter the U of C golf team.

This past season, the Dinos have made a bit of a name for themselves in the college golf landscape, beating the University of British Columbia Okanagan and tying with the University of Victoria for third place at the CanWest tournament last November. At which, Ethan Banks was the men’s individual champion while the men’s team collectively placed third and won a bronze medal. 

CanWest was not the first time the Dinos would snag a team win. A week before the CanWest tournament at the UBC Invitational, Banks would win gold in the men’s Individual and the men’s team would finish second. In one fall semester, the Dino’s golf team would wrap up the best season in school history. Impressive play from players up and down on both the men’s and women’s rosters shot the golf team from a relatively unnoteworthy team to the harrowed ground of a golden podium. 

As is the nature of a game predicated on good weather, the Dinos took a break after the CanWest tournament and returned to action on the national stage, when they flew to Bromont, Québec to play at the historic Domaine Chateau Bromont from June 1 to 4. 

When it came to preparing for nationals, the Dinos had an unusual disadvantage compared to the other teams that they competed against. Since the climate in Calgary is, let’s say, more unpredictable than the climates of British Columbia and Québec. Teams from these regions can and do, practice all year round. Once snow falls by the foot in Novemeber, the Dinos get confined to playing on astroturf, an artificial substance meant to simulate the effects of grass.

This makes playing golf in Calgary a very different experience than golf in B.C. And the effects of this show. B.C. teams like UBC and University of Victoria almost always perform well at USport golf tournaments, placing high and winning more often than not. The fact that the Dinos, who again, are at a disadvantage just from the circumstances of where they practice and play, were able to compete and even defeat these B.C. teams this past season — which is an achievement in itself. 

However, the lack of opportunity to train and prepare for nationals may have harmed the Dinos in the end. In Québec, the team finished 13th out of 20 teams and failed to make the cut on the final day of the tournament. In order to make said cut, the Dinos would have needed to finish four strokes over par, at most. They finished a heartbreaking six strokes over par. UBC would end up winning the entire tournament, with the University of Laval finishing a close second and the University of Victoria placing third.

“We knew we had the potential, just a mediocre second day could have helped us make [the cut],” said second year athlete, Cale Singular. Singular, a brand new graduate of the Schulich School of Engineering, says it feels “bitter sweet” to end the season the way it did.

“Tournament play is hard, especially when you’re not playing well as a team. It makes it tough knowing so many [golfers] are returning next year, it feels like you’re walking away from something,” he continued.

Singular is one of three players graduating from the Dinos golf team, but says that he’ll try to return to the team next season if allowed, as a sort of de facto assistant coach. With such a promising groundwork being laid, who can blame him? Seven players are returning next season, including four of the five men’s players who went to nationals. 

Nationals may not have gone the way the Dinos had hoped leading into the tournament, but after undoubtable the best season in school history, with the majority of the team returning next year, things are only looking up for one of the country’s most promising university golf teams. A great conclusion for a program that has only been at the varsity level for two years.  

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