The Taylor University Men's golf team is going after another nationally notarized campaign in 2023.
After missing a Top 25 ranking at the start of the 2022 season, the Trojans opened up at number 12 in the national polls. They stand as the sole representative from Indiana in the top 25.
“Expectations are high!” head coach Lorne Oke said. “There are some new guys in the lineup after last year's senior-laden group, but we have players with a lot of quality experience and a strong senior class again.”
In his second season coaching golf at Taylor, Coach Oke, who brings 29 years of coaching experience at similar institutions, holds high expectations for both himself alongside the team.
“Last year was a good year for me to get to know our players and to get to know Taylor University better,” Oke said. “I feel much more comfortable now.”
With his feeling more at home, recruiting efforts will come more naturally as well.
“I’m also working hard at recruiting,” Coach Oke said. “I feel very confident in asking players to come to Taylor and several that I’ve talked to already have responded very well. That’s really important to sustaining the quality of our golf program as a nationally ranked and recognized team.”
The roster for this season is smaller compared to years past going from 13 players in 2022 to nine. This team features not one, but two sets of brothers in senior Adam Kazitz and sophomore Kyle Kasitz as well as senior Lance VanErmen and freshman Griffin VanErmen. Adam Kasitz sees great value in having his younger brother by his side and is grateful they play together, especially because it was not something that was expected.
“I was thrilled when he decided to follow me to Taylor,” Adam Kasitz said. “He has been a great addition to our team. Ever since we were little, we have pushed each other to be better golfers. Before college, I had always thought it was a possibility that we would end up on the same college team. I had never thought it would actually happen though.”
Being one of three seniors, Adam Kasitz is ready to put together one more national championship run in his last season while growing spiritually with his teammates along the way.
“A perfect senior season would be winning conference and competing at a high level at NAIA nationals,” Kazitz said. “As well as helping the young guys grow not only in their game but also their faith. We have a young team with a lot of talent. I am looking forward to what is in store for us this year.”
Younger brother Kyle Kazitz anticipates excitement for the team and will soak up playing alongside his brother one more time.
“When I signed with Taylor I did not realize how lucky I was to play college golf with my brother, until I really started my freshmen year,” Kasitz said. “With this year being our last year together I am excited to see what we can accomplish this year with Taylor golf.”
Kyle, who delivered a strong performance throughout his debut season and particularly shone at the NAIA nationals, consistently achieving high scores over all four days, aims to further solidify his game by focusing on a specific facet.
“Going into my second year, I hope to capitalize on the consistency I brought to the team last spring, and at Nationals,” Kyle Kazitz said. “One thing I look to improve this year will be in my ball striking. This will be a major help to my game and the team.”
With there being a plethora of young talent on this roster and a coach starting a new tenure, there is immense potential for the 2023 season and long-term future of Taylor golf.
The men’s golf team has their next tournament in South Bend, Ind. for the Battle at Blackthorn starting Sept. 29.