Golf Lions push each other, ready to open season on road

Valerie Melton

Aside from the fact that the team competes and wins together, the Missouri Southern golf squad also will have to compete against each other for a traveling spots.

“We’ve got a big team this year,” said head coach Kevin Greim. “I’ve got 12 guys this year and most of the time we can only take five to seven of them to tournaments. The guys are constantly competing against each other for a shot at one of those spots.

“We’re gearing up for a couple of big tournaments. We’ve got conference, regionals and we’re going to Hilton Head, S.C., over spring break.”

In spite of the unruly weather, the men are still at work, lifting weights and hitting balls into a net in the basement of Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

“Lately, we’ve been braving the cold and trying to get out and hit some balls at the driving range,” said Tom Clifford.

“I am pleased with the balance we have on the team. We’re lucky to have three great seniors in our program. They have drive and all posses great work ethic that help them lead the team,” Greim said.

The team’s home course, Twin Hills Country Club, has been chosen as the site of this season’s regional tournament, to be played May 8-9. However, just hosting regionals does not guarantee the team a spot in the tournament.

“Our goal this season is to constantly be improving,” Greim said. “Incremental improvement is going to be the key to getting us ready for regionals. Assuming we qualify, we plan on taking advantage of the fact that we get to host it by spending a lot of time on the course and really getting to know it.”

Some Lion golfers are shooting at specific opponents.

“Washburn is really our main competition. They’re the team to beat and I think that we can do it,” Clifford said.

Greim said the team is counting on the Lionbackers, The Joplin Sports Association, and the members of Twin Hills to make the event a success.

“The Twin Hills community has just been fantastic,” he said. “They pay a lot of money to be members there and they are willing to shut down their course for four days to allow these athletes to come and compete.

“Doug Adams, the head golf professional, and the grounds crew are working hard to make sure that it’s (the course) up to the proper caliber.”

The Lions’ first tournament won’t be until spring break when they travel to South Carolina. On their return to the Midwest, Southern will compete in the Washburn Invitational in Topeka, Kan.

For a complete schedule and roster please visit