The Valparaiso University Women’s Golf Team is making huge strides in their second year in the Missouri Valley Conference. The team will be hosting the MVC Women’s Golf Championship on April 14-16, 2019 at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. This acts as a huge opportunity for both the university and the club; in mid-October, they had a taste of what to expect in spring.
All schools competing in the championship gathered at Sand Creek Country Club on October 15-16 for a preview tournament. The tournament gave the players and their coaches a chance to get acquainted with the course to ensure they meet less surprises come April.
“This is a big step for Valparaiso,” said Matthew Ward, Compliance Coordinator for the Valparaiso University Department of Athletics. “We’re looking forward to being great hosts for these student athletes and their college teams.”
Jill McCoy, Sand Creek’s Director of Instruction, took up the reins of an additional role in early August: Head Coach of the Valpo Women’s Golf program.
“Being given the opportunity to return to Sand Creek as an instructor and to coach at the Division I level has been amazing,” McCoy said. “I feel lucky to have been given these two wonderful opportunities. I feel as though my 15 years’ experience as a PGA professional has finally gotten me exactly where I want to be.”
McCoy loves seeing the ways her roles collide and overlap for this event.
“Having Sand Creek as our home course is definitely an advantage for me; I have been able to work as an instructor and run practices simultaneously. My position at Sand Creek has also provided me with additional resources to better help the players on my VU team,” McCoy said. “I feel this is a huge opportunity for Sand Creek to show what a great facility we have and our ability to host such a big event.”
Even with the advantages that come from being so familiar with the course, McCoy said part of what makes it so great is its level of difficulty.
“Sand Creek is a very difficult golf course, even for players who have seen the course many times,” she said.
Ward echoed McCoy’s sentiments.
“Sand Creek is one of the tougher courses in the area; there’s a hazard or an out-of-bounds on every hole, which makes it pretty demanding,” he said.
Course challenges combined with blustery, hazardous weather made for a tough competition, but McCoy saw the trials as opportunities for growth.
“My team has a lot of learning to do before the spring Championship. We are going to have to reevaluate course set up, and we are going to be focusing a lot on short game and converting missed greens to up and down opportunities,” McCoy said. “Also, the beginning of our spring season will be spent playing tournaments in the Missouri Valley region, so we can become acclimated to the weather conditions.”
McCoy gave a special hand to Sophomore Shelby Schier, who made a hole in one on Creek #4 during the last round of the preview.
“This was definitely a silver lining to a very difficult tournament!” McCoy said.
With preparation already underway, the Valparaiso University Women’s Golf team and Sand Creek Country Club are working hard to make this tournament experience one for the books.