Hannah R. Miller, Staff Writer

Miami University golf team captain Nathan Sutherland. (Contributed Photo)

Nathan Sutherland is going into his senior season for the Miami University golf team, leading the team with his talent and experience. Throughout his first three years at Miami, his golf game and his attitude about the sport have come a long way. Here’s what you need to know about his perspective on the game:

– The early bird gets the worm. “I remember going out with my dad and my brothers and my sisters, I was probably like three or four, and we would just mess around on the golf course. I started taking it seriously when I was probably 12 or 13. I would do small one-day tournaments where it’s just a bunch of little kids that didn’t know what they were doing. We’d just go out there to play. It’s one of my favorite memories from golf. We’d play in silly PGA events and there were some characters…some really funny kids. That’s when I really started to like the game.”

– We talkin’ ’bout practice. “We have to do this up and down game, which I hate, but I know there are a lot of benefits. You have to shoot a certain score — it’s chipping and putting — and you have to shoot a certain score before you can stop. It’s definitely helped me the past year and a half, but if (Head) Coach (Casey Lubahn) stopped doing that drill, it would be fine with me!”

– Relax. “Personally, I think if we realize it’s just a game and we’re still healthy — it’s just a game and you can’t take it too seriously. You have to keep it in perspective. It makes it easier when things don’t work out, and it gives you a better chance to succeed if you keep that in mind. I’m going to try to remind (the team) that golf is just a game, you know?”

– Don’t play subpar, score it. “Summer is a time where if you want to get better, it’s the time to do it. You don’t have the stresses of school and all of the other responsibilities you have back at Miami. It’s just working on the short game and working out if you can here and there, but also taking some time off. You have to find a good mix of work and rest.”

– Coach knows best. “Casey has given me a lot of good advice, but the number one thing…well, we played really bad my sophomore year, it was the first tournament of the spring. He yelled at us and told us, ‘You guys are all fine. You’re all healthy, what the hell are you guys getting worked up about this damn game?’ That’s what stuck with me. I always remind myself that it’s just a game. Coach does a great job of making me realize that there are more important things in life.”

Sutherland and the rest of Miami’s golf team will be back on the course to open their season at the Purdue/Midwest Shootout on Sept. 11.