Time management is a term that is thrown around by everyone.
At college, all students must learn to manage their time as they adjust to a new class schedule, and for some, a job. Student athletes, however, must manage all the work other students deal with, along with the time they spend playing a sport.
The travel involved in competition takes up most of that time.
Most Ohio teams mainly play against teams in their conference, so the travel is limited to the Midwest. But for Ohio golf, travel is the name of the game. The Bobcats go around the country to play all their tournaments.
Not hosting any tournaments means Ohio must travel to compete, mostly south to escape the bad conditions in the winter months for a golf tournament. The Flyer Invitational in Kettering is the closest tournament to Athens, but it is still 134 miles away.
Ohio practices at the Athens Country Club but does not host any tournaments there, as it is a nine-hole golf course. All tournaments Ohio has participated in have been 36 or 54 holes over two or three days on 18-hole golf courses.
“These women are definitely road warriors because we do not have any home events, we don't play anywhere around here,” coach Kelly Ovington said.
Traveling those long distances means the golfers must miss school and deal with making up schoolwork, all while playing 54 holes over two or three days.
When the golfers arrive at the tournament, they don't want to be thinking about finishing an assignment for class. Rather, they want to think about how to hit the ball into 18 different holes.
“They get all their work done as best they can ahead of time so they can enjoy things when they get there and focus on golf,” Ovington said.
Communicating with their professors is essential to making sure they are on track with all the assignments and making sure they finish work that is due while they are away at tournaments.
“My teachers work with me a lot and I communicate well with them and try to make sure things are done before I go, or that I know that I’ll be able to do something when I'm on the road,” freshman Marissa Balish said.
The assignments for some classes must be completed within certain time frames, which means they cannot be done ahead of time. Luckily for many golfers, none of the time frames have collided with being on the course, yet.
"A lot of times you can't get it all done before because there are time slots for quizzes and exams so, you just have to work with it the best you can. But get the stuff that you can get done ahead of time, get that done," junior Lily Pendy said.
To start the spring portion of the schedule, the Bobcats traveled just under 1,000 miles to play in the Mid-American Match Play Challenge in Bradenton, Florida.
The farthest Ohio traveled was to Rio Verde, Arizona, for the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational. The 1,929 miles from Athens to Rio Verde is double the distance the team will have to travel for any other tournament this year.
Traveling encourages the golfers to develop relationships with one another, though, in a place where they are all there for the same reason: to play golf.
“Just being with the team and traveling as a team, I think it’s more fun and it’s just nice to have them by your side," Balish said.
During travel, they work while in the van using the Wi-Fi to get all their assignments done. Ovington rarely sees them sleeping, listening to music, or doing anything other than their assignments.
After golfing all day long, usually the last thing they want to do is sit down and work on schoolwork for multiple hours.
“You can't play 36 holes and then be like 'oh, I'm going to go do three hours of homework', no, like you're going to want to go to bed,” Pendy said.
Coming in as freshmen, there is a learning curve to adjusting to college life away from home for most people. Student athletes deal with all the rigors of being a student and the demands of being an athlete, especially for golf where there are large quantities of travel happening.
Over the course of their time at Ohio, they improve their ability to manage their time and help the underclassmen learn how to manage their time, too.
"It's amazing what they do with their studies and as much as required for them traveling," Ovington said.