The Georgia Northwestern Technical College Golf Team is heading to Chatauqua, New York, June 5 to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 3 championship.
"We finished third last year at the national tournament in Chatauqua," said GNTC Head Golf Coach Jared Willerson. "We are looking to win it this year. Last year there were 18 teams including us. It was a really neat experience. It [Chatauqua Golf Club] is a neat place. It's right there on the lake and we stay in a condo on the lake. I had never been to that part of New York."
GNTC Golf Team members Chase Cole, Jordan Estes, Grant Allen, Lanier Guest, Tucker Venable and Ben Huggins will accompany him this year.
"They are all really good and they work extremely hard on their games," Willerson said. "I'm really proud of their work ethic and the time they put in to be the best they can be. They just work really hard. That's the key to anyone's success, but they exemplify it. We practice every day. We go to Windstone in Ringgold and to Canyon Ridge on Lookout Mountain. We spend a lot of time on the golf course playing and practicing and that's how we maintain a good record."
Over this season, the team won the regional tournament and finished second at the Reinhardt College Tournament.
"We were ranked inside the top 10 this year in the college golf rankings," said Willerson. "In Division 3 we were the highest ranked team."
The coach said he goes over everyone's game individually with them and tells them how to get better.
"I'm always on the range with them," he said. "I try to keep them relaxed and focused. They are all really good players. I encourage them to be the best athletes they can be and the rest takes care of itself."
Willerson, who began playing golf in college and fell in love with the sport, helped start GNTC's golf team three years ago when he joined the school's coaching staff. He also teaches economics at Gordon Lee High School.
"We are just practicing trying to keep each other sharp," he said. "It's a long drive to New York. We get to see a lot of the country. We drove through Kentucky and Ohio. It's just really neat. It's good to see parts of the country you have not seen before. Last year we went to Niagara Falls because it's an hour away. It was amazing to see."