by Eric Oslund
Last summer, Rogers senior golfer Nick Andersen had the opportunity to play in the Minnesota State Open – a golf tournament where the top amateurs and professionals in the state come together and compete with one another.
It was originally supposed to be a 4-day event, rain turned it into a 2-day event, but Andersen still enjoyed every second of it. He was paired with some very talented players, who really opened his eyes to where he needs to take his game.
“A guy in my group shot like six under through all the days we were playing, which was really fun to see,” he began. “Kind of gives you an idea of what you have to do to get to that level. It was definitely fun to be out there with those guys and just play a long, nice course.”
In order to bring his game to the next level, Andersen began practicing three days a week during the winter months at inFIT in St. Michael. There is a state-of-the-art golf simulator at the facility where you hit a ball at a screen and it that tracks your ball’s speed and trajectory. From there, you can basically play a round of golf indoors.
He said that it took some getting used to, but after awhile it is a fun, and convenient way to get extra work in during the months the courses are closed and covered in snow. But nothing can beat that feeling of getting outside in the spring and being able to play for real.
“It kind of sparked the passion again for this year,” the Rogers senior explained. “Playing inside is fun and all, but once you can get outside again it’s just a blast.”
The re-ignited passion, along with the hours of work put in during the offseason, lead to a very good start to the 2017 season for Andersen. He recorded the low score on his team through their first four meets, which included a 73 at the Elk River Golf Club during the Dave Conley Classic, the low score of the day.
He knows things could be better, though, and really wants to clean up on his putting. He knows that, along with keeping himself happy with his scores on the course, are the two biggest things standing in his way of his goal – the state tournament. He’s never qualified for state in the four years he’s been playing on varsity, and is hoping to finally make it as a senior.
Golf is an interesting game because so much of it is individually based, but you still play on a team. Andersen knows that the Royals have a very young group this season, and he has been working with a lot of the inexperienced players to help them improve. But, he also needs to focus on himself still, especially if he wants to reach his goals at the end of the season.
“I’ve been playing a lot with the younger guys in the practice,” he said. “Just trying to give them an idea of what to do in different situations. It’s kind of always an individual aspect because you just want to do the best you can because that’s going to get you the farthest in life, but, of course, it’s with the team too because of course you want your team to do well. We’re a young team right now. We’re not always going to be up there with the other teams, but it’s always good to see other people shoot well.”
After this year concludes, Andersen will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he plans to pursue a degree in business marketing, and play on the school’s golf team. But that’s still a long ways out, and he wants to make sure his senior year of high school is as memorable as possible before he starts his next chapter.