Coach Fee, men’s golf prepare for rest of season

USF men’s golf coach Jim Fee, in the midst of coaching his 13th season, has gotten his fair share of experience with the Bulls.

On March 6, Fee helped host the 17th annual Ron Smith Coach-Am tournament, helping benefit the USF golf program.

This past weekend, the University of South Florida men’s golf team finished 16th in the USF Invitational and looks to improve as it approaches the Big East championships.

Oracle: Has the team played up to your expectations so far this season?

Jim Fee: No. At times we play very well and we get it together, but we haven’t put it together for all three rounds. We did have a fall tournament where we played well and finished third, but in others we have not fared as well.

Understand I have tried to put us against the toughest competition we can find. These are good teams in these tournaments, and if you don’t step up and play well all three rounds, you don’t finish where you want to.

O:  What are the team’s strengths right now?

JF:  Statistically, we are very good at driving the ball and hitting greens. Beyond that, we need to improve in areas to keep up with some of these other teams.  We certainly strike the ball well across the entire team.

O: What improvements would you like to see?

JF:  Well, it all revolves around the short game: Putting, chipping, and plays out of the sand sometimes are areas we certainly need to improve.

O:  How will hosting the USF Invitational in Dade City prepare you for the Big East tournament, considering it’s at the same location?

  We are going to learn a lot from looking at the statistics of this entire tournament.  This is our home event, and with seven Big East teams playing, we’ll get to see how they performed.

Of the seven, the only two teams to finish ahead of us were Louisville and Marquette, who are probably the two strongest teams in our conference right now.  We will look at how they played the golf course and compare it to how we played and see where we lost shots to them. We will have a lot of good feedback.

How was the Coach-Am tournament Sunday afternoon?

JF:  Coach-Am turned out great.  We didn’t have quite as large of a field as we did last year. The weather was perfect, everything ran on time, and the dinner and the auction in the evening went very well.  Lake Jovita does a great job with its events and everyone had a super time. We are still trying to determine how much money we raised.

O: You graduated from USF in 1985 and have spent 13 seasons coaching here. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in USF golf?

JF:  The biggest change in USF golf would be the roster sizes getting smaller, which can be good and bad. The quality of the players is still good. College golfers and junior golfers still continue to get better. You are always trying to get the best juniors that you can.  The scores are still dropping.

As far as facilities, we have some new places that we are using on a more regular basis. Hunter’s Green and Tampa Palms are two private clubs close to campus which have been great for us.