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April 18, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-18

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8 - Friday, April 18, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Superstition or habit? What's in 'M's golf bag?

By DANNYV
Daily Spor
Golf is a gamec
in swings, in fo
in angles and
importantly, ino
"I love to ti
clubs," said soj
McIntosh. "I'm t
tinkers the most
do a bunch of res
These days, ti
research for Mch
possibilities are
the degree of
customization
available.
For the
Michigan
men's golf
team, the
customization
process starts
with a trip
just down the
road to Miles

ARGOVICK clubs to try. The team is split
ts Writer down the middle between the
brands Titleist and TaylorMade,
of detail. Detail and most players use a mix
llow throughs, of both brands. Since players
perhaps most mostly use the same brands, the
ne's clubs. fitting process is what accounts
nker with my for many of the differences
phomore Brett between one player's clubs and
:he person who another's.
on the team. I While others arrive with an
earch on it." open mind and try everything,
here's plenty of McIntosh said he always arrives
ntosh to do. The with a few clubs in mind.
endless with "Being a longer hitter, I'm
looking
for more
"It really comes accuracy,"
McIntosh
down to how a said. "In my
driver, I'll play
club performs for something
heavier. I play
an individual." heavier shafts
- it gives me
more feel for
where the club

three-woods, two sets of irons,
three sets of wedges and four
different putters.
There are many reasons why
a player may choose to switch
a club.
"I've noticed the advancement
in technology a lot in the newest
driver I put in play," McIntosh
said of his new TaylorMade.
"This new one I have
flies different.
"For wedges it's more wear on
the club. My irons were wearing
down - I'd been using them
for two full years so I switched
this winter."
Players are forced into some
changes. Belly-putters will be
illegal beginning in 2016. Many
players, including McIntosh,
have made the switch back to
the standard putter, knowing
the change is coming. Some go
to greater lengths than others to
make sure the fit is right.
"I got my new putter custom
made for me, guys don't really
get putters custom made."
McIntosh said. "The head is one
of 11 in the world. I had it shaped
especially for my eye."
With putters, more emphasis
is placed on the visual rather
than the technology of the club.
Factors include which type of
markings a player wants to use
to line up the ball and the angle
of the shaft that best fits his line
of sigth+

of Golf. A few years ago, before
Michigan built its golf practice
facility, the team practiced at
Miles of Golf's driving range.
Now they use it exclusively
for clubs. Michigan assistant
coach Nick Pumford played at
Michigan when they practiced
at the range, and both he and
head coach Chris Whitten rely
on their expertise on clubs to get
each player a perfect fit.
Afterthe static fittingprocess,
which involves taking players'
heights and wrist-to-floor
measurements, players choose

head is through the swing and
narrows down the dispersion."
Advanced tracking systems
then analyze everything in a
player's swing. They look at ball
flight and spin rates and then
try to match launch angles with
spin rates in order to minimize
dispersion - the average
difference from one shot
to another.
It's a process that players
go through surprisingly often.
Since McIntosh arrived in Ann
Arbor two years ago he has
gone through three drivers, two

The Michigan men's golf team once had
"Putters have a honeymoon
effect," McIntosh said. "Just
having something different
puts a different perspective in
your mind and it's almost like a
new beginning. It just gets your
mind fresh."
McIntosh will even switch
clubs for a single day in order
to optimize his bag for the
day's weather.
"If there's windy conditions, I
miwht esth +o a club h ati e

VICKI LUI/Daily
to practice at a nearby golf range, but now practices at its own facility.
a lot lower," he said. and feels good - once it looks
McIntosh is so interested in and feels good I'll use it for a
his craft that he said he might long period of time."
make a career out of it even if Hyun switched to a new
he doesn't play professionally. driver eight months ago after
He says he has thought about playing with his previous driver
going into the club equipment for just under two years.
business and doing fittings. "I was starting to think that
I might be losing some distance
* * * because of the driver," Hyun
said. "I just got a chance to try
Still, not everyone likes to a new driver, and I really liked
change clubs. Some players find how it felt, so there was no
something they like and stick reason for me to not change it."
with it. Whitten takes each player
"(Freshman) Bryce (Evon) on a case-by-case basis when
will never switch his putter in considering whether or not it
his entire life," McIntosh said. is time to switch clubs; there's
"He loves his putter, he's pretty no golden rule that applies to
superstitious with it. Bryce everybody.
doesn't like to have other people "It really comes down to howa
even touch his clubs." club performs for an individual,"
There's a certain level of Whitten said. "Golf's an
superstition that permeates all individual sport, everybody
areas of the game. Most players swings a little differently, so the
won't let other people hit their most importantcthing is thatthey
clubs out of superstition. At the have something that fits them
collegiate level, everyone's stuff well and helps their game."
is so custom-fit, from the head to Sometimes the coaches need
the weight of the shaft, it doesn't to encourage players to try a new
make sense for other people to club if they think technology
use a player's clubs since it's not has improved, but other times
going to be perfect for them. coaches want playersto stick with
Junior Noori Hyun said he what they are comfortable with.
falls somewhere in between the "As coaches, we have to take
two extremes. a smart approach to it," Whitten
"I wouldn't call myself said. "We want the club to
superstitious, but at the same perform well, but at the same
time I don't like to switch time, probably more importantly
clubs," Hyun said. "I'm more of is a player's confidence, not only
a feel guy. I use whatever looks in his swing, but his clubs."

PHOTO sY VICKI LIU/Daily
Eath set of clubs is similar in many retards, containing the standard drioers, irons and patters, bat they differ in their specific measurements and makes.

What to Watch for: Gophers pose first challenge

By MAX BULTMAN
DailySports Writer
It's been 41 days since the
Michigan softball team lost a
game - oreven came close to it.
A 1-0 win over Ohio State
notwithstanding, the third-
ranked Wolverines have
obliterated their opponents
since their last defeat March 7 to
Houston.
Riding Minnesota
a 20-game .r
win streak, d MIchigan
Michigan Matchup:
hasn't even Minnesota
seen a ranked 32-6;
opponent since Michigan 34-6
the day its When: Friday-
unbeaten run Sunday
started, a 3-0 Where:
win over then- Alumni Field
No.7 Arizona. TV/Radis:
All thatcould BTN (Saturday)
come to an end
this weekend
when No. 12 Minnesota comes to
Ann Arbor for what will be the
Wolverines' (9-0 Big Ten, 34-6
overall) last serious obstacle to
winning a seventh straight Big
Ten title.
The Golden Gophers (10-3,
32-6) enter the series in second
place in the Big Ten and look
to spoil Michigan's undefeated
season in conference play.
Here's what to watch for as the
Wolverines try to protect home
field and push their winning
streak to 23 games:
Minnesota's pocket aces:
When Michigan is in the batter's
box, it'll be staring down some
of the best pitching it's faced all
year.
Minnesota right-hander Sara
A 4

continue her dominance against
the Golden Gophers' strong
pitching staff.
Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins raves about Romero's
presence and patience at the
plate - a true compliment from
one of softball's most legendary
figures. The threat of Romero's
power is enough for multiple
teams to have intentionally
walked her to load the bases
this season.
When they do, it usually leads
to a big at-bat for sophomore
outfielder Sierra Lawrence.
Michigan's fifth hitter has
already surpassed her RBI
tally last season with 45 - she
had 38 in 2013. Lawrence also
has five home runs, and is
hitting a startling .600 with the
bases loaded.
If Minnesota can get around
both Sierras, something no
team in the conference has
done successfully to date,
they'll put themselves in a good
position to steal a game from the
Wolverines.
Pitching Carousel: Lately,
Hutchins has gone to the
bullpen late in games despite a
comfortable lead.
Against Michigan State last
weekend, she pulled freshman
right-hander Megan Betsa
for the seventh inning in
favor of junior right-hander
Sara Driesenga even though
Michigan led by 14.
Hutchins said she had
decided to sub in Driesenga
one frame prior, when the lead
was just four - the Wolverines
posted 10 runs in the top of the
seventh - but the move would
have still been surprising given
I

that Betsa hadn't allowed a run.
While Betsa and Hutchins
both said the freshman looked
off her game and had been using
too many pitches, Hutchins
said the move was partly to get
Driesenga used to coming into a
game in the late innings.
Hutchins repeated her
strategy Wednesday, bringing
in Driesenga to close out the
last two frames of an 11-0 win
against the Chippewas.
That preparation should pay
dividends for Driesenga and
Michigan in the postseason,
when games aren't so lopsided
and the bullpen can make or
break a season.
With a much higher level
of competition coming from
Minnesota this weekend,
those types of high-pressure
situations may well be in store.
BY THE NUMBERS
Michigan Softball's offense
4-
NumberofWolverines battingover.400
this season, led by sophomore shortstop
Sierra Romero's.519 average.
Michigan'steam battingaverage-the
No.1 mark in the nation.
.447
The Wolverines'on-base percentage
which ranksusecond nationally.
7.10
Number of runs per game Michigan
scores.Atop-10marknationally.

LUNAANNA ARCHEY/Daily
Senior outfielder Lyndsay Doyle will look to get to Minnestoa ace Sara Moulton early in the series to hold off the Gophers.
Moulton ranks second in the has faced this year. They've plate: Most of Michigan's
conference in earned run average posted eight runs or more in success at the plate this year has
with a mark of 1.68 - and is the all, thanks to players like senior come when Sierra - Romero or
only non-Wolverine in the top Lyndsay Doyle, but two of their Lawrence - is batting.
four. But Moulton is coming off conference games this season, Sophomore shortstop Sierra
her worst performance of the and 14 of their last 18 wins have Romero leads the nation with a
season, in which she allowed 17 been by way of the mercy rule. .519 batting average, and walks
hits and all 13 runs in a 13-9 loss Moulton, who boasts 13 more than once per game on
to Northwestern. shutouts on the year, should at average. That adds up to an
Outside of that performance, least slow down that production on-base percentage of .651, also
Moulton has been stifling. She's at the plate. good for first in the country.
struck out 188 batters this season if she falters, Minnesota will Romero, who was recently
in 149.2 innings and doesn't shy turn to freshman pitcher Sara listed among the 25 finalists
away from throwing a fastball in Groenewegen, who boasts an 11-0 for National Player of the Year,
high-pressure situations. record and a2.35 ERA. knocked in five RBI and hit her
Still, the Wolverines boast the 11th home run of the season
highest-ranked offense Moulton Michigan's Sierras at the Wednesday, and will look to

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