Currently having the best season of his college career, senior golfer Lincoln Slagel sat down and took a look back at his experience at North Central. Slagel is currently sitting at an average of 76.64 strokes per round which ranks as the fourth best season average in program history. He also sits in second place for North Central career stroke average at 78.96.
Hailing from the small town of Fairbury, IL (pop. 3,689), Lincoln got hooked on golf simply because it was something to do.
“I wasn’t old enough to run any of the machines at my dad’s manufacturing business. My mom was a chef so I had a part-time job bussing tables. Aside from that I just spent all day on the course golfing because I couldn’t really do anything else. It turns out I was pretty decent at it”
While no one in his family was a golfer, Slagel found inspiration by watching people who played regularly at his local nine-hole course and, of course, Tiger Woods.
“When I was younger they were like Tiger Woods to me. Once I really started following professional golf I definitely started watching YouTube videos of Tiger Woods from the early 2000s because he’s just the best. Period.”
Over the past four years, Lincoln has managed to annually drop his average score by nearly two strokes. He attributes this success to having put in hard work to overhaul his swing mechanics.
“Swing changes take years so finally now as a senior I feel like my swing changes have finally started to take effect. If it weren’t for a couple of bad rounds this fall and then one this spring my scoring average would be about four or five better which is a bit of an unheard of drop. Once you get down into the 70s it can be really hard to improve. You have to work extra hard for every stroke you take off.”
When he isn’t studying for a class, Slagel can be found practicing five to six hours every day. To give himself an edge, he reads up on the courses he’ll be playing at anywhere from a week to a week and a half before each tournament. He reads course reviews, checks the courses website, and even looks at the course on Google Maps all while taking notes.
Looking back, Slagel loves the growth he has seen not only in himself, but in the program as well.
“Since I’ve been a freshman, one of the things I’m most proud of is how we’ve started to rebuild the program. When I was a freshman it was more like a club sport. We’ve started implementing grade requirements, physical requirements, playing requirements. Basically, I feel like we’ve really overhauled the program for the better. I’ve enjoyed setting everyone up for the future. I feel like helping rebuild the team is my legacy.”