Last week on Thursday, September 7th the GMC JC Men's Golf team celebrated their 2017 NJCAA Division III National Championship in the Legislative Chambers of the Old Capital Building. It was an evening to reflect back on the success of the program this past year and to thank all those that have contributed the program and its successes. The 2017 National Championship was the 2nd for the Men's Golf program which saw it secure its 1st in 2004 under the leadership of Sonny Harmon. The current Head Coach, Josh Miller, took the reins of a program in the summer of 2016 that had 3 International players and 7 domestic players and led them to the Championship this past June 2017. The team had a season that had mixed results throughout as they competed against larger NAIA and NCAA institutions, all for the purpose of challenging the players to stretch their games to the point where they would be prepared to win a National Championship.
After winning the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) DIII conference championship in April 2017 the team made preparations and practiced for the National Championship in June. The Georgia Military College golf team had quite the road trip once they left the campus in Milledgeville on its way to Chautauqua County, New York in early June. Along the way, it has stopped at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and played 18 holes at the home of the Greenbrier Classic, an annual PGA Tour event; and then, immediately after checking into their condominium, it took off for Niagara Falls to see all its grandeur and beauty. By the way, the Bulldogs seem to find the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club to their liking, too. In the first round, sparked by an even-par 72 by Ashton Denton and a 73 by Floris Veth, Georgia Military College shot 300 as a team in the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Championships. Their collective outstanding performance — all five players shot in the 70s — propelled the Bulldogs to a 13-shot lead over Columbus (Ohio) State CC. Sandhills (North Carolina) CC and Minnesota State Community and Technical College were tied for third at 314 and they never looked back, eventually winning the NJCAA Division III National Championship by 24 shots.
The Bulldogs as a team finished last year with a ranking of #19 amongst all NJCAA Division II (scholarship) schools, even though GMC is a Division III (non-scholarship) program. In fact, the freshmen class was ranked 12th out of 150 golf programs in Freshmen Impact in all of the NJCAA golf programs on Golfstat. There were two GMC players that were named All-Americans, Floris Veth and Ashton Denton. Floris Veth, from the Netherlands, finished the year with a 72.65 scoring average and was the winner of the Mason Cup award. Ashton Denton, from Thomasville, had a strong national championship run with scores of 72, 74, 75, 69 and is looking forward to leading the team back the New York for another run at the National Championship.
The success of last season and the program isn't accomplished without the help and assistance from others on campus and in the community. One of the main purposes of the reception was to take a few minutes to recognize the many contributions and support from others outside the coaching staff. Mr. and Mrs. Harold Mason have been major supports of the Men's Golf program from its very inception and have tirelessly and sacrificially contributed to its' success. The Mason Golf Performance Lab stands as a testament to their goal of supporting the success of GMC student-athletes. The Mason Performance Lab is an indoor practice facility that houses a 1000 sq. foot chipping and putting green as well as a Full Swing golf simulator that has cameras, video, stats, etc. to assist in the teaching and growth of the GMC golfers. It also goes without saying that without the support from President William B. Caldwell, IV, and his leadership team, none of this would have happened. Coach Bert Williams, Director of Athletics, and staff thank all those that have supported and continue to support the work that is being done on behalf of the students of Georgia Military College. Go Bulldogs!