They have by far the longest and least known schedule of all of the Oredigger Athletics. When the football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and swimming seasons each came and went, the Men’s Golf team quietly kept on practicing. And now, only a few weeks from the end of the spring semester, their work is nearly complete. The Division II Men’s Golf Championship is only a month away, and the Orediggers are considered to be a strong candidate to win the West Super Regional and compete for the first time in the national championship.
While the credit for this excellence is well deserved across the entire team, there is no doubt that the hard work turned in by the team’s six seniors has paved the way. Among these seniors who have spent countless hours on the golf course is mechanical engineer Cory Bacon. Bacon, a member of the 2008 team that finished a dismal 10th place at the RMAC Championship, has helped lead the Orediggers to four first place finishes this year.
Students may spend 15-20 hours per week doing homework, but between hitting the range, attending practice, and competing in weekend tournaments, Bacon easily spends 25 hours perfecting his game on the course before he even considers starting his mountain of homework.
Yet not even that rigorous schedule can slow down Bacon, whose enviable 3.68 GPA last year earned him a unanimous selection as the RMAC Men’s Golf Academic Player of the Year. That is impressive for someone who spends more time on the golf course than most students do in the classroom. And the hard work is beginning to pay off. As his senior year and CSM Golf career wind down, Bacon looks to lead the Orediggers for one last playoff push. For his efforts on and off the course, Cory Bacon is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] As a golfer, have you been watching the Master’s this past week?
[Bacon] Oh yeah. It’s like a golfer’s Christmas. I think on Wednesday before it started, I was more excited for the Masters than I was for Christmas. It’s just so exciting to watch the pros play. You get to see the most crazy things, all the traditions, all the legends. And I think it’s the one event where the course shines brighter than the players.
What do you like about golf that makes it different from other sports?
It’s a lifetime game; you can play it until you die. If you can walk, you can play golf.
Have you ever had a hole in one?
I’ve had two, actually, and both have been in tournaments… You can tell when you make contact that you hit it well, but it isn’t till it’s in the air that it really hits you how good a shot it was. Once it hits the green and rolls toward the pole, you start to think it has a chance. On my first one, I remember I was just in total shock when it went in. I couldn’t believe it and was just shocked. I didn’t really do anything, and had probably the most reserved reaction compared to my teammates.
What is your favorite golf club?
Oh, that’s a good question. It’s gotta be the driver, man. Just grip it and rip it.
What is your favorite golf course?
My favorite course that I played on would probably be our home course, Bear Creek Country Club or the Classic Club in Palm Desert, just two hours from where I live. But my favorite courses that I’ve never played on would definitely be Augusta, St. Andrews, and Pebble Beach, but I may get to play at Pebble Beach for my graduation present.
What is it like to grow from a seventh place RMAC team to a national contender?
It’s very rewarding. I hope we win the RMAC and go to the National Tournament, but we still have work to do. But it’s still extremely rewarding to put in all the time and effort the past four years. It’s kind of like getting your degree. You work hard for four years and it pays off in the end.
What is your favorite part about being a student athlete?
The best has to be just being able to play a sport in college. Not many people get that opportunity. It’s been a great run for four years.
What is it like to see your senior season come to a close?
It’s bittersweet. It’s been a great run for four years, and I’ve been able to play golf for free all over the country during that time. But we don’t want to get stuck in the moment and say it’s now or never. We just want to have fun and relax and play golf.
What has been the one thing that Mines has taught you that you will take with you?
It has to be time management. After dealing with time management throughout college, I know that I’ll be able to handle whatever I have to, even if I have a lot of things on my hand to do.
What is the nerdiest thing you have seen on campus?
Oh, it’s gotta be Humans versus Zombies. It’s pretty ridiculous how it’s turned a video game into a real life game.
What is the nerdiest thing the golf team does?
Well, it’s kind of nerdy. We are always talking about and relating engineering to golf. We always talk about the physics and the engineering of the swing and stuff.
If you could change one thing at Mines, what would it be?
I would offer more classes at more convenient times. It’s been hard to get my schedule to work with golf over the past four years.
What is the best class you’ve taken at Mines?
Engineering Econ. It’s probably the most applicable class offered here. When you graduate, you may not need fluids, but you can always use the financial advice. And Mechanics of Materials, too. I just had a good teacher (Prof. Candy Sulzbach) and really enjoyed that class. Oh, and CAE.
Least favorite class?
Oh, fluids. That class is so hard. I left like, half of the final blank in that class.
What advice would you give yourself if you were to redo Mines?
Work hard and play hard. Put in the time in the classroom and then play hard on the course. It’s worth it.