Welcome to this week’s installment of Captain’s Corner, where I sit down with a captain of a Middlebury College athletics team to talk Captain to captain about the role, the team and their life at Middlebury. This week I got a chance to chat with Katie Murphy ’23 about the team’s fall success and how they are preparing for NESCAC Championships this coming spring. Katie has led the team to some impressive finishes in tournaments this fall, utilizing her strong performances to motivate the team to greater success.
Captain Rudolph: How did the fall season go for the team? What does that mean for the spring season?
Katie Murphy: So, as a team, we started out pretty hot. At Hamilton, everyone played really well, and I think we stayed competitive throughout the entire semester. We were kind of head to head but also sitting right behind Williams and Amherst. They're normally the best two schools going after it, and we gave them a good run for their money a few times throughout this season. We had four tournaments and a NESCAC qualifier that was hosted in Amherst. The winner of that qualifier gets to host the top four finishing teams in a battle for the NESCAC Championship in the spring. We came in third, which was very exciting to stay in a good position within the conference, and we stepped up on the second day of the qualifier by posting some great scores that were way better than the first day. That ended up being a great way to end the fall season on a strong note.
CR: What is your favorite hole on the Ralph Myhre Golf Course? Why?
KM: Hole 15 is the best because it's definitely pretty challenging. Throughout my first two years playing the course, I could not get it right. From the tee box, I would hit my ball out of bounds right almost every time. The hazard over there is brutal. But I just love how the drive is challenging and how the approach shot is at a pretty solid angle, and the green is always fun but nothing too hard. I think it’s just a nice fun but kind of hard hole. Not to mention, it has a phenomenal view of the Green Mountains in the fall.
CR: How do you fill your role as a captain when golf is such an individually focused sport?
KM: This is definitely something that I’ve had to learn how to navigate throughout this last year. I think it’s an incredibly important role because golf is an individual sport, but it’s necessary for people to be rooting for each other so that it doesn't feel like we are out there playing alone. So, it’s important to keep that team dynamic strong when there are 14 people trying to qualify for five spots. Thankfully, our dynamic is full of cheering each other on as we ride the highs but also being supportive in the lows, as golf can be so volatile from week to week. Making sure everyone is embracing that culture is one of the roles I’ve taken on as [a] captain for sure — and making sure people show up to practice on time.
CR: Do you have any rituals before or while playing a round of golf?
KM: Yeah, I do. I’ll do the same 15 minute peloton stretching workout and five minute ab workout before every match, and then I’ll play Cage the Elephant’s “Social Cues” album on repeat my entire warm up because it's the only music I can listen to that makes me feel like I'm in the zone. And, as a pre-shot routine, every time, that includes one quarter-half practice swing and is followed by three twirls of my club as I walk up to the ball. It just helps a lot to be consistent every time.
CR: When the golf course is covered in snow during the winter, how do you find ways to stay on top of your game?
KM: Just this last spring, we officially got a simulator that’s in the squash courts right now. It’s a pretty sweet setup, however I've only been to it a couple times because the weather is so nice, and I definitely want to take every chance I can to be outside right now. As winter approaches, we’ll start going there a couple times a week in small groups. We also lift three times a week and try to get some yoga in as well. During the offseason we’re pretty much just trying to work on our strength training, flexibility and using the simulator to look at our numbers.
CR: What’s your favorite iron to hit with?
KM: I love my six iron. I probably hit it the most because as the cold approaches in the fall, the courses we play aren’t that long, but they start feeling long. So I use my six iron to keep it a little low in the wind, and it's always consistent. I can always trust that baby!
Editor’s Note: This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.