Golf prepares to be up to par come conference championship tournament

The Lion’s Roar / Heather Jewell

Golfers on the Lions team Lawrence Allen (left) and Paul Obermann (right) spent their Friday afternoon at the Carter Plantation Golf Course, enjoying the continued cool weather and sunny skies to start off their weekend. While there, the athletes went to multiple spots on the course, practicing for any angles they might be faced with taking at the Conference Championships on Apr. 18 through 20.

With their season in full swing, The Lion’s Roar met with Head golf Coach Jake Narro and seniors Eamon Bradley, Lawrence Allan and junior Paul Obermann to discuss their season, performances and team dynamics. Starting off the season as 122 in their division, the golfers have made their way to 97 and must win the Conference Championships in two weeks to compete in regionals.


The Lion’s Roar: How do you feel about the Old Waverly Tournament overall?

Jake Narro: It was good, in our last round we tied for the lowest score out of all 16 teams. Our challenges this year have not been playing good rounds, but playing consistent rounds. We’ll have a really good day, then we’ll have a really bad day. Golf is a game where that happens.


TLR: How do you feel about the season as a whole?

JN: We are division one, so there are about 300 golf teams out there and we started at 122 and have progressively worked our way to 97. I’m happy with the steady progression, however I do not think we have progressed as far as we could be. You have to be in the mid-sixties to play in post season regionals, which we will not make it to unless we win the championships. We are ranked number two in the conference, which is good news, but the bad news is McNeese is the number one ranked team and we have had a hard time with them. They are better than we are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t beat them.


TLR: Who has really impressed you on the team this year?

JN: Of the guys I’d start with Paul Obermann, he’s had a really good year and is an eyelash away from really doing well. And James Anstiss. Those two guys have been our best performers, their scoring average is the lowest, and James is a little bit lower than Paul’s. And Lawrence and Eamon, I’m really proud of the example they’ve set for the rest of the team [as seniors].


TLR: You said y’all are having trouble with inconsistencies, what are the tendencies of your players for each game then?

JN: Oh yeah, everybody has strengths and weaknesses and all of them are a little different… Paul’s strength is to get that ball to the green. James’ strength is getting them there also, but his main strength is putting and chipping. James’ strength is his short game ability and Paul’s strength is his long game.


TLR: What’s the team dynamic like?

Eamon Bradley: I hate all of them *laughs*.

JN: The truth is this, when you get a group of people together you’re going to have different personalities and backgrounds and not everybody agrees all the time. However, what this is, and what is cool about being on a team is that- Paul’s from Germany, these guys are from Scotland, someone’s from Baton Rouge and so forth- they all think the same. They all love golf, they’re the same age, they’re in school, they talk to each other about what classes to take, bitch about professors, and they go out together and have fun together. The cool thing is when they come to college, they’re in a group already. They don’t have to join a fraternity, they already have that built in. The seniors, as much as they might mess with the young freshmen, they help guide them along. I would say it’s almost like they’re brothers. Siblings fight all the time, right, but no one can fight them. And that’s the way the team dynamic is. They encourage each other, they push each other, they love each other; but, they piss each other off at times as well.

EB: I think that’s what the strongest part of the team is: we hold each other accountable, but never put too much pressure on each other at the same time.


TLR: You all come from different cultures and communicate differently, so whenever a new guy comes on the team is it hard to cross that bridge?

EB: Yeah it’s hard, everyone is different and I think it’s not just because of the cultures, but because we don’t know each other before [coming to Southeastern].

Paul Obermann: I think we are so accustomed to different cultures already, getting along with different people, speaking different languages- with accents- we are pretty much used to it.

EB: Honestly, I think the hardest people to adjust to are Americans. When a German comes we’re like oh, he’s alright, because when you’re in Europe you spend so much time dealing with people from different cultures. But in America its like, all you deal with are other Americans. So it’s sort of isolated and when you come meet the Americans they have literally no idea about what other people and cultures are like. I feel like the when we come in, the Americans change more than anyone else.

PO: I think all in all its more fun and a challenge to get to know all these cultures and gain life experience, whether you’re American or non-American. Just to be put in such a mixed and multi-cultural environment like our golf team.


TLR: What’s your winning formula? What do you look for when you’re recruiting?

JN: I’m brand new, I recruited for the first time this year and I have one guy coming in next year and all I ask is this: I want him to come to Southeastern, to the school, to the community. I want him to come to Hammond. And let’s face it, what does every kid in Louisiana grow up wanting to do?

TLR: To play a sport at LSU.

JN: So, I don’t want any part of them thinking or wanting to go to LSU. And if he does, that’s fine, I respect that, secondly what I’m looking for in someone is that I don’t want to have to look over their shoulder to make sure they’re practicing and going to class. I consider them adults now and I want to be able to tell them I think they’re practicing too much and to take a day off.  So that’s what I’m looking for: good kids with good grades, who come from good families. And being able to play a little bit of golf doesn’t hurt either.

TLR: So the first thing you look for are personalities?

JN: Yeah, are they going to fit with the team? I don’t want someone who will be a part of the dynamic and work with the team. And he needs to buy into what is already going on. We are not going to change the team for just one person.

EB: I concur.


TLR: What were your reasons for starting the game? What really pulled you in? This is a lifelong game compared to other sports.

JN: You’re exactly right about that. I played my first game when I was two years old and my father played lots of golf. Probably more than my mother wanted him to, but it was the seventies and mom stayed at home, dad played golf on the weekends. So, I played with my father, I played with my friends, and I played all sports until I was about 15. I was actually much better at baseball and I wanted to be 3rd baseman for the Atlanta Braves growing up, but when I got a little bit older I filtered more into golf. I’m a life PGA member and have been working at different golf centers since 1992. It started out as something my father and I did together and turned into a career.


EB: I also concur to that as well.

JN: The values of playing golf teach you to be respectful, a gentleman, and the way you act and handle adversity. And the reason it’s great to be either a caddy or go with your father is because if you act up and your dad’s around he’ll threat to never bring you again. And as a caddy you’re expected to just show up and shut up while you carry the bag around, so you learn how to act on a golf course.

TLR: Yeah, the energy on a course is a lot quieter…

JN: Exactly, but your mind is a roller coaster. The emotions that you go through in four or five hours, especially in a golf tournament, are up and down. But to play at your best you have to display an even Que. Inside of you on the first tee, it’s called the first tee jitters, it feels like your heart is about to jump out of your chest and you have to be calm. In football you can just run into somebody and try to kill them, but in golf you can’t do that and that’s the challenge of the game.

The difference between golf and all other sports is this: the dimensions are always the same and a lot of times you are playing indoors, where the conditions are controlled. In golf, not only is every course different, but every day it is set up differently, to where the hole is put in a different place and the tee box where you start off can be moved also. And the weird thing about golf is that you’re trying to play the course itself better than an opponent. You can’t control what someone else does, but that why it’s so hard to win in golf. You can play well and still lose or you can play poorly and win.

TLR: So technically you’re playing against the guy who designed the course you’re on?

JN: Absolutely.


TLR: Continuing the earlier question about what got you started in golf, did either of you like to add to that?

PO: For me it was that no one else in my family played it. There was a project in my school where you could go out and try it, since it wasn’t all that popular as compared to in Scotland where it was created. Not many people were playing it and it was quite unusual for me to play it but I found other kids the same age as me playing it, found a lot of friends, a great coach and mentor as well, and stuck to it because it is just so much fun, it was almost an accident for me to start. It’s given me so many opportunities and has never let me down, there are so many things to look forward to. It’s almost like an entirely different world.

Lawrence Allan: I started out like coach, my dad played, so I grew up with that. I played soccer as well and played until I was 15 and was actually better at soccer but golf offered more opportunities so I stuck with it, since golf was what I really wanted to do.

EB: My dad forced me to play and I got addicted to playing, pretty much. Pretty simple to be honest. My older brother was always better than me. He’s three years older than me and when he was seventeen he turned away from it, but I kept going.


TLR: How might golfers differ from other athletes?

PO: We are cooler.

*Everyone laughs.*

JN: What I have noticed is that they aren’t very different at all. They are very good friends with the soccer team and they are all getting up and being scrutinized harder than other athletes. I don’t see any differences.


TLR: Unlike football or baseball, you have your whole lives to play golf, but with those other sports you only have a limited time. If they get an injury, they want to be back on the field as soon as possible because now is their time, they will never be this fit or young again. But y’all have time. So if you were to have an injury would you still feel that quick urgency like they do or ne able to sit back and let it feel.

EB: Golf, until you get to the pros, doesn’t have an off season. It’s really a yearlong game, as compared to other sports. I think it depends on the extent of the injury.

LA: It’s not that big a deal, we can just play through it.

PO: It’s just as big to get back in like any other sport, but the main motivator isn’t that we’ll never be this young again, it’s just that we want to continue competing and getting better. Nobody can wait, you just want to do it every day.

LA: I think tiger woods is the best example of that, he’s taken two years off for back surgeries and it shows how important it is to look after yourself, but there is always that drive to get better.


TLR: So y’all are on a two week break, the Conference Championship isn’t for another two weeks, how are y’all feeling about it? What are you doing now to stay in the mindset?

EB: Preparing. Just trying to prepare for it like any other tournament and trying to get better at golf. The only part you can control in golf is how you prepare so when you go out there you are as ready as you can be and give yourself the best chance to perform well.

PO: Everybody has work to do, we have all got to prepare.


TLR: What are y’all going to do to work on improving your consistency?

JR: There is one event left, it’s now or never, we are who we are. We are 97, its below where we wanted to be, so now we are in the position where we have to win to go to Regionals. We’ve been working on it, but sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. The good news is our good is good enough, the bad news is our bad is too bad. If we can bring our bad up, play our good round, we’ll be beating everybody. And in three days of golf, you’re going to play one bad day. And if our bad is not as bad as it has been, then we’ll have a chance.


TLR: Earlier you mentioned each course is different, where will y’all practice then to be best prepared for the multiple layouts?

JR: We go to Carter Plantation and we are very appreciative to them for allowing us to use their facility.