The golf team will begin its spring season Monday at the UTPA Classic in Edinburg.
Arkansas State, Prairie View A&M and Loyola Chicago will join them along with the host school, Texas-Pan American.
For ACU, it will be the first tournament of 2015. The Wildcats begin their season against top competition, including North Carolina, Arkansas and South Carolina.
“We have a good nationwide schedule that the guys on the team are really excited about,” said Tom Shaw, head coach. “We’re going to take ACU and the brand eastward and try to get some more tournament wins.”
The ‘Cats are scheduled to play 36 holes Monday and finish Tuesday with 18 more.
This is the first spring season for Shaw. In his first fall season, the Wildcats won a tournament and claimed one other top-three finish.
“As any coach will tell you, you play the way you practice,” Shaw said. “I want to teach these guys that you can’t just turn on a switch. It takes behind-the-scenes effort day-in and out to get to the highest level you can.”
The team was led by Corbin Renner, senior from Little Rock, Arkansas. He never finished a tournament lower than 12th in the first half of his final year.
“I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from the leaders before me about being the best leader I can be with the team we have now,” Renner said. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to just live in the moment. Don’t get too caught up in the future; just set goals for the semester, and do whatever we need to to reach those goals.”
Shaw believes there is no question that Renner can lead the Wildcats to where they need to be.
“Corbin has set the bar very high for this group and at a place where other ACU Wildcats can look at him and think ‘I want to be like that guy,'” Shaw said.
Renner has a unique style of play, especially when he plays well.
“When I’m playing my best, I’m not thinking about golf at all,” Renner said. “I try to distract myself as much as I can in between shots. But when it comes to my shot, I focus 100 percent on it. But then after that, I try not to think about it.”
Dillon Vaughn, junior transfer from Joshua, added strong support in the second spot.
The last three spots on the team fluctuated from tournament to tournament, but Clarke Hudgins, freshman from Amarillo, always found himself in the mix.
Still, the Wildcats will need team members to step up to make a push during conference play.
Tee-off is at 8 a.m. Monday.