Dec. 3, 2007
Go behind the scenes of Illinois women's golf with "Chip Shots", the online golf journal. In the seventh and final fall edition of the season, head coach Renee Slone reviews the fall season, discusses plans for the winter and looks ahead to the spring season.
Even though our fall season has come to a close, there has been plenty to do to keep the team and myself occupied. We have had team and individual meetings to discuss the results of the fall season and determine where we stand in relation to our goals. We certainly enjoyed improvement at both individual and team levels, but feel there is ample room for continued progress. Our first three events were a slow start to the season but we finished strong with a second-place finish at The Legends and a fifth-place finish at The Challenge at Wolfdancer. We continue to lack consistency in our top four scores, but understand the issues that must be addressed in order to improve in this area.
Several players significantly improved their scoring averages compared to last season with Seul Ki leading the way at almost four shots. Her course management skills have led to lower scores and are due in part to her abilities to think her way around the course and play smart golf. She has already broken the 18-hole school record with a course record 66 at The Legends, which led to a tournament victory. With her continued dedication, I'm sure we will see many more exciting things from Seul Ki. Kristi, Nancy and Kristine significantly improved their scoring averages as well. Every team member contributed to the team's success over the course of the season and great things are in store for Casey, Steph and Raquel this spring.
The team is now doing our off-season conditioning program five days a week. It consists of strength training, a cardio workout and a yoga/pilates session. Several players will head to warmer climates during the long holiday break to work on their games and keep that competitive edge by playing in some top women's amateur events. This will also give them the opportunity to put things in motion that we have discussed in our individual meetings. Upon their return to campus in January, we will again meet to set our goals for the spring season and chart our course that will lead to our success.
The team will have the next two weeks off so they can focus on preparing and taking their final exams. We will enjoy our Team Holiday Dinner next week as our final time together in 2007. The dinner is potluck so everyone contributes to the meal by bringing a dish (practicing another form of teamwork) and the team has their Secret Santa gift exchange. This year's dinner will be the first in our home as my husband, Rick (who is also our assistant coach) and I moved in last March.
I have remained busy post-season analyzing team stats, developing questionnaires for the team and providing them with game improvement info from a mental and physical standpoint. The early signing period for high school seniors recently concluded. What an exciting time for our program as we will welcome several young ladies to the Illini Family in 2008! Recruiting has already begun for the next class. I have been watching junior tournaments and attending to the other duties involved with recruiting. Work has also begun in organizing our Fighting Illini Girls Golf Academy in June. Details will soon be available at www.fightingillini.com. Our lone home event for the year, the Illini Spring Classic, is scheduled for April 4-5 so preparations are being made for that as well. As you can see, there is rarely a dull moment!
Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season and the very best in 2008! Thanks for your support in 2007 and here's to an even better 2008!