For the average golfer, the sport is a leisurely activity for weekends or the occasional summer evening. At Eagle Valley, the city of Woodbury course, the men’s team took the leisurely sport and turned it into a championship.
Each summer, the Minnesota Public Golf Association (MPGA) runs a tournament. Golf courses from around the metro field teams to compete in the summer-long competition. Last season, the Eagle Valley men’s team, led by captain David Anderson, won the 16-man team tournament.
The team was comprised of mostly Woodbury residents. Anderson, director of sales for Delta Dental, says one of the best parts of his job as captain is bringing together and playing golf with an eclectic mix of personalities and backgrounds. Throughout the year, more than 20 men participated in matches (scheduling conflicts would often lead to shuffling the 16-man roster for a given match). “The diversity of the team is amazing,” Anderson says. “There’s blue-collar guys. White-collar guys. Business owners and everything in between.”
The MPGA tournament features two-man match play. That means within the 16-man team, guys are paired off and play as two-person team. The scoring is match play, meaning the goal is to win as many holes as possible rather than basing the score on total strokes, which is the style most people are used to.
To beat an opposing team, the full 16-man roster must win more holes than the opponent. To win the whole tournament, the Eagle Valley team defeated four different teams between May and September. “We just kept coming back,” says Dan Sicard, Anderson’s co-captain. “It seemed like we would always get down early in matches, and then turn it on on the back 9.”
Golf’s a funny game, and to go on a run like the Eagle Valley team takes a lot of luck. Sicard says it felt like every putt was dropping and every shot was going their way. As any golfer knows, that’s the recipe for success.
But it took more than luck. The team is a talented group of golfers. Most have played competitive golf throughout their life, and many are seasoned veterans. Anderson estimates the average age of guys on the team is about 45.
Their experience served them well. Golf is as much about finesse as it is power. There’s a stereotype that younger golfers will step up to the tee box and hit the ball a country mile but have no idea where it’s going. More experienced golfers know how to pull back, and focus on making good shots.
More than anything, being experienced helped the guys keep their wits about them. The league is competitive, and guys take it seriously. It certainly isn’t The Masters, but guys are out there to win. When the competition gets down to the wire, guys tend to press. In golf, playing nervous can be the difference between a good round and a terrible one. The Eagle Valley team had the experience to stay relaxed and focused.
“It gives us a little prestige,” says Dan Moris, head golf professional at Eagle Valley. “If someone is looking to join a men’s club and wants some competition they might think, ‘Hey, they’ve got some good players and I want to play with those guys.’”
Heading into this season, a lot of the same guys are on the team. That doesn’t make it any easier to repeat, but Anderson is hopeful they can catch lightning in a bottle again. “It is so difficult to repeat,” Anderson says. “I like to think we have the talent to be able to repeat, but the golfing gods must be shining down on you to win again.”
Eagle Valley 16-Man Team:
Dave Anderson (Captain), Dan Sicard (Assistant Captain), Jerry Boland, Jim Boland, Steve Conway, Corey Eikins, Jay Glaser, Bob Guertin, Dave Heisler, Dave Huepel, Todd Johnson, Jim Jonza, Rob Kimlinger, Scott Klien, Dan Monahan, Pat Muellerleile, Tom Nordstrom, Mike Olsen, Eric Peterson, Jerry Rislove, Tony Scheuerman, Sammy Sicard, Brent Thomas