Men’s golf swings into action in premier season

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Head golf coach, Justin Akers
Head golf coach, Justin Akers

By: Kayla Smith
Staff Writer

IU South Bend’s newly added Men’s golf team began their fall season with a subpar performance at their first tournament.
Titan Golf competed in the Michiana Crosstown Clash on August 28 and 29 at Knollwood Country Club and Elbel Golf Course of South Bend. The Men’s team came in fourth out of four teams competing in the tournament.
Head Coach Justin Akers knows that there are improvements to be made, as the season has just opened.
“It was our first tournament of the season. There were only four teams but it was a good experience because, for most of the guys, it was their first tournament, and for some of them it was their first competition and playing on a team, so it was a good experience,” said Akers. “We didn’t quite play as well as I had expected, but you’ll have that being the first year of the team.”
This is a new experience for Akers as well. This is his first year as a head coach as well as his first year with Titan Athletics. Akers previously served as the assistant coach for two years at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), where he also attended college and played on the golf team for four years before accepting the coaching job at IUSB.
Akers is not the only Ohio native and former OWU coach on the Titan Athletics staff. Men’s basketball head coach Scott Cooper previously served as assistant coach at OWU with men’s basketball.
“I actually had him as a professor and then for 2 years he was my colleague,” Akers said. “Scott told me about the job. I applied, got the interview, and one thing led to another. I’m very excited to be here.”
As a fall and spring sport, Men’s Golf is only just beginning. The team is continuing to practice for their upcoming tournaments.
“We practice [at the South Bend Country Club] basically five, six days a week, and one day a week we’re out at Elbel, which is Holy Cross’s course as well.” Akers said. “We’ve been fortunate to have a good relationship with them so far, and hopefully we continue doing that the next couple of years.”
The upcoming Cameo Pizza Battle at the Brook will take place on September 12 and 13 in Sandusky, Ohio. This is a tournament that is familiar to Akers as the tournament will be hosted by his alma mater, OWU.
“It will be fun to get back and see my old coach and some of the players that I actually coached when they were younger,” said Akers.
“It is a really nice course that we are playing, Plum Brook Country Club. It’s an old-style country club, so it’s a little bit shorter but has all the nice features that a country club is expected to have,” Akers said. “One thing about golf is the boys’ fate is in their own hands for the most part. We have qualifiers each week to see who’s going to play in the tournament.”
As the team heads to Ohio, they plan to improve after struggling to find the greens in their first tournament.
“We’re going to be working a lot on wedges and working around the greens for the most part, chipping,” Akers said. “I think we have the chance to do something special by the end of the year.”
To follow all the action with the men’s golf team at @IUSBTitans and @iusbpreface on Twitter.

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