April 9, 2020
NCGA Member/Tournament Player Finigan Tilly Still Grateful
Finigan Tilly, a former member of the Junior Tour of Northern California who plays at Cal-Berkeley, recently wrote about his feelings regarding the lost NCAA collegiate golf season for the Golden Bear Spotlight. In 2017, Tilly was medalist at that year’s NCGA Amateur. Tilly’s medalist-earning score of 10-under 134 remains an NCGA record for the event.
Ever since the news regarding the cancellation of the NCAA season was released, it has been difficult for my teammates and I to comprehend. It came as a shock because it was announced only one day after returning from a tournament in San Diego.
My teammates, coaches, and I have been able to stay in touch as a group, scheduling a zoom call once a week to catch up and talk about what we are all doing to improve at home. The transition to online classes has been somewhat difficult to adjust to, although I have been able to create a daily schedule of everything I need to accomplish each day.
With the closure of most golf courses, I have had to be more creative in finding other ways to practice. I have been able to hit golf balls into a net in my backyard and putt on a carpet indoors. I have also created a stretching routine and a fitness program that I can do in any room, without the use of a gym.
One thing that is different about golf is the fact that the psychological aspect of the game is so important, therefore working on certain parts of the mental game is possible without having to go outside.
Without visiting campus, the Cal family has still been very helpful in staying in touch, reaching out and trying to stay as connected as possible via frequent zoom calls. One positive thing that I can draw from this time off is an increase in my desire to get better; this time has shown me that being able to practice on a golf course and compete with my teammates on the course for upwards of 6 to 7 hours per day is a privilege and something I should never take for granted. I am much more grateful for what I am able to do and have never been more excited to play in competition as I currently am. I think most of the guys on the team are itching to return to competitive golf. Hopefully this makes us practice harder and smarter and return next season with a stronger desire to win.