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North Carolina men's golf team wraps up historic fall fueled by love for each other, faith in God

The North Carolina men’s golf team recently wrapped up a historic fall season, winning the inaugural Williams Cup at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Oct. 25 and 26. The win marked the third team victory this fall out of four tournaments, and moved the team up to No. 2 in the nation at the end of the fall season, one of the highest finishes in school history.

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UNC’s strong fall season came on the heels of a stellar spring season in which the Tar Heels lost in the NCAA quarterfinals and finished the year fifth in the nation.

North Carolina golfer Dougie Ergood after winning the Elon Phoenix Invitational on Oct. 12, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Carolina Athletics)

Sports Spectrum had a chance to sit down with senior golfer Dougie Ergood to discuss the success the team has experienced and how faith has played a role.

Looking back on your fall season, what was different this season than ones in the past? 

“This year we have had more buy-in than I have seen in past years. The freshmen came in willing and ready to grow and go all-in, which was awesome. In the past, we would have some guys buy into doing things the way we talk about, but this year most guys on the team got to work and did what needed to be done to be their best. The three keys our coaches gave us for the year are 1) Having fun, 2) Being really competitive, and 3) Being great teammates. I really see the third as being the most pivotal part of our success, which we have improved on greatly but still have a lot of room to grow in the spring.”

How has the culture of the golf program changed over the past couple years? Has your faith or any of your teammates’ faith played a role in the change of the culture?

“As a senior now, I have seen God do amazing things on our team. My freshman year, He used a guy on the team to show me what it looked like to know and live out the Gospel. This totally shifted my perspective on Christianity and opened my eyes to what a relationship with Jesus looks like. Now I have the opportunity to live with the same guy’s younger brother and show him what it looks like to live out the Gospel.

“I have had the opportunity to have real conversations with many of my teammates and I have the opportunity to live out the Gospel. I see it as a privilege that I get to live out what He’s done in my heart.

“It’s amazing how Jesus has the ability to redeem and make a person a disciple. We have always had a ton of talented guys on the team, but now we have talent mixed with a group of guys who push and encourage each other to be the best we can be. It is an environment filled with love and grace, but there is also a degree of accountability and holding each other to excellence. It’s really fun to be a part of.”

How does your faith affect you as a golfer? Do you ever lean on your faith during your play, practices, workouts, etc.? 

“As a golfer, I see the course as being a place where I can do something I love for His glory. I have a renewed mindset of working and practicing for Him and to do it with excellence because He’s given me the opportunity, where in the past I was enslaved to doing things to gain acceptance and approval of others. Now, knowing that I am accepted and approved and loved unconditionally by God has led me to play with freedom.

“I’m constantly meditating on Scripture and praying through obstacles on the course, in the weight room and in the team room with God. I know He is alive and active, and is interested in every detail of my life. Knowing this, I get to go to Him in search of advice on how to handle tough situations, and He is always there to lift me up and show me the way. He is truly a good Father!”

Looking forward to the spring, what are your goals and expectations after a stellar fall?

“The success that we had last year in the spring led to guys having great success over the summer, which kept going into the fall. We just have a ton of momentum and we have a group of guys who love each other and who believe in our coaches and believe we can do great things at UNC.”

The Tar Heel men’s golf team this spring will be aiming for the program’s first-ever national championship. UNC’s season starts Feb. 14 with the Albany Collegiate Invitational in New Providence, Bahamas.

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