Harston enjoying status as full-time coach
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Harston enjoying status as full-time coach

One of the most precious commodities is time.

Lipscomb’s Buddy Harston knows that. And he appreciates having more time to work with his golfers in his first season as the full-time golf coach for the Bisons and Lady Bisons. He had spent the past four years in a part-time capacity.

“I am going to four practices a week where I used to go to one or maybe two a week,” Harston said. “It seems like I have so much more time because my mind is not trying to figure out how to promote myself as a teacher for private lessons. It is really refreshing.”

Harston pointed out that both teams have fully realized that there is a full-time coach. That means more intense and focused practices and more meetings.

“They will be able to learn so much more now that I am there with them,” Harston said. “They won’t be on their own when they practice. I will be there.

“It has been an adjustment because we are going from spending 10-or-12 hours a week working on the golf to 20 hours. I am more engaged because I see the upside potential of both teams.”

Effort equals results in every sport, and Harston, a former Bisons baseball player, thinks that statement is even more accurate in golf.

“In golf you can’t get by on just talent,” Harston said. “You can for a day or two or a round or two. But to be good at golf you have to be consistent.

“That’s the first step. You have to be consistently working on the aspects of your game that need work. And it is my job to make sure they do that.”

As a result of that extra work Harston’s players are developing a better understanding of what he wants overall.

“They are starting to see why we spend so much time on the short game and putting,” Harston said. “Before I would talk about it and then they would go to the course and see how hard they could hit the ball with their drivers.

“When I am out there now with them they can’t do that. They can do it on their time, but they can’t do it on my time. Working on the short game is like working on rebounding, playing defense and shooting free throws in basketball.”

Last week the Bisons spent two hours working on the short game, spending 30 minutes on putting and 1 1/2 hours on wedge shots. Harston set out a hoop on the green and they hit 10-yard shots, 20-yard wedge shots and 25-yard wedge shots.

“I guarantee you none of them had ever done that before,” Harston said. “That might tell you that they have, but they haven’t.

“They had to make five shots on the fly into the hoop before going to the next one. After 30 minutes they were still trying to get the ball into the first hoop.”

During the first meeting for the season Harston’s theme was priorities. They are God and faith, family, school and golf.

“Things like Vanderbilt football, Tennessee football, boyfriends or girl friends are way down on the list at about 15th,” Harston said. “Before I would talk about priorities, but I couldn’t follow through. Now I can.”

Harston likes what he sees in both teams in terms of future potential.

The Lady Bisons have welcomed three freshmen _ MacKenzie Carter, Sabrina Ferreri and Catherine Musser.

“Sabrina’s mother was a LPGA pro and played on the tour,” Harston said. “Catherine has the best swing on the team. MacKenzie is tall and very athletic. She hasn’t played golf that long.

“They want to soak it in. You can just sense that they want to get better. I’m really encouraged by the attitudes of the freshmen.”

Dustin Wilder, Ryan Terry and Kyle Wittler are newcomers for the Bisons. Terry is a walk-on who has qualified for two of three tournaments this fall.

“I know if they do what I ask them to that their stroke averages will get better,” Harston said. “In the fall I am looking to see what they need to work on mentally. It is all geared toward the spring and conference championships.

“We don’t just throw these tournaments away. But we work on our golf swings in the winter. Once the fall season is over we will start breaking down their swings and working on the fundamentals. I have more time to communicate with them and their parents what we are doing.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.