Marist College has over 20 varsity sports in which men and women participate, ranging from football to water polo. While there is a wide range of sports that are offered at Marist, there seems to be something missing. Out of the 11 colleges that are in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Marist is the only one that does not have a Men’s or Women’s golf team.
Marist College Athletic Director Tim Murray has been playing golf for 24 years. “As a coach, I have played in outings here and there,” he said. “It wasn’t until I started this job that I was like, you know I gotta figure this thing out. I love it.”
Murray explained that he was “actively involved with them from the beginning.” He highlighted the importance of the connection that Marist has with the McCann foundation and how that helped the club golf team to get “a package where they will have the opportunity to play.”
Despite this strong relationship with the club golf team, Murray said they have never had a formal conversation about going varsity.
Senior Jake Pallotti shares the same love for the sport; he serves as the current President of the team. “I’ve always found it interesting that Marist doesn’t have a varsity team and I know that others have similar thoughts.”
Biagio Raimondi, a junior at Marist, is currently one of the 16 players on the club golf team. “I think it would be great to have a Marist Varsity Golf Team,” he said. When Raimondi first made the team, he said that they discussed the possibility of starting a varsity team if they received “a surplus of competitive golfers.” Despite these hopes for a varsity team there were no “concrete” steps taken. Pallotti agreed, saying, “Given our current structure, we’re still a little ways off from being able to compete on a varsity level.”
Raimondi agrees that they want to be as inclusive as possible while remaining competitive. “Our central concern is whether or not the players interested can shoot the scores we are looking for,” he said.
Pallotti believes there are quality players at Marist but for whatever reason they have not been interested in the club team. “I think creating a varsity team would get more of those types of players to come out for the team,” he explained. Placing the varsity label on a team may increase the incentive to participate. With increased incentive comes an interest that is otherwise absent.
At the moment, there is a large level of interest and participation in club golf at Marist. However, the level of play is not where members of the team would like it to be. “I would say that the main concern is quality. We always have high interest for the club but not everybody can compete at a competitive level,” said Raimondi.
There are several requirements that would need to be organized before a varsity sports team can become official at Marist. “There would have to be a sustained interest over a number of years. They would have to work with me or the members of my staff,” said Murray. “We would have to confirm that there would be conference affiliation, teams to play, reasonable in terms of travel, where would we practice. We pull all those things together and then they would have to work through the process.”
Murray said that McCann Memorial Golf Course or Casperkill Country Club would be ideal courses for a future team. “Obviously we have a good relationship with the McCann foundation and that course is in terrific shape.”
If all of those requirements are completed, there would be one last step. “There is a committee of VPs who would make the final decision in terms of what to present to David Yellen,” Murray said.
The First Tee is a program that was founded in 1997 by the World Golf Foundation. Their goal was to teach young people important life values, such as honesty and dedication, through the game of golf. “I love that,” Murray said. “I think it is outstanding and I think more young people should get involved in golf. And more women should be involved in golf.”
Murray expressed his hopes for starting a Women’s varsity team, saying that the conversation about getting a Women’s varsity golf team started a few years back. “I have formally attempted to start Women’s Golf at Marist. We have it in the pipeline as a possible sport.”
There is obviously interest in creating a varsity golf team at Marist, both in athletics and in the student body. However, a varsity team may be a few years down the road. It may not happen today, nor tomorrow, but the possibility for a varsity golf team at Marist looks, at the very least, quite feasible.
Edited by Will Bjarnar and Lily Caffrey-Levine