Building a team bond


John Freitag

Blake Snyder takes his tee shot during WSU Men’s Golf practice at Palouse Ridge Golf Club, Thursday, Sept. 19.

Confidence is a vital asset when competing in collegiate athletics. For senior WSU men’s golfer Blake Snyder, confidence in his game has never been an issue.

“For me, I work on my putting and hitting the golf ball and all that stuff, but definitely what makes those things flourish the most is being mentally as strong as you can possibly be,” Snyder said. “That’s something I’m constantly, constantly working on.”

As a junior at Washington State, Snyder completed with two separate top-ten finishes on the year, including a sixth-place, team best at the Hawkeye Invitational in April.

“We’re always out here practicing… it’s a lot of work,” Snyder said after his season opening victory. “But it really pays off when you win tournaments. It feels really really good.”

Despite the recent success for Snyder, the road to Division I golf wasn’t always a breeze for him.

“Coming out of high school, I didn’t have much recruitment. I ended up taking a scholarship at University of Hawaii-Hilo, which is a Division II school. So I kind of had to work my way up through the ranks,” Snyder said.  

He said the most difficult challenge was making it to the Division I platform, but now that he’s made it he’s going to make the most of it.

“As an individual you can have a great game, you can get interceptions or throw a bunch of touchdowns, but if your team doesn’t play well you’re not going to win,” Snyder said. “It’s a similar sense with golf; you try to play your best, but you have to rely on your teammates as well.”

Snyder said his teammates need to trust each other in the trenches, so the time they spend bonding together is vital. He has a team-oriented attitude, so team dedication has propelled Snyder through his time at WSU.

“Our team is on the up and up. We have a new coach here, in his third year. We’re assembling a great team,” he said. “When any of us try and get high and mighty, we do a pretty good job of humbling each other.”

The players’ connection has paid off for the Seattle Prep graduate and his teammates and Snyder knows the competition only gets stiffer as they face Pac-12 opponents.

“I’ve played with a bunch of good guys over the years,” he said. “It’s really good experience, getting to see how they grind on the course and compare yourself to that, and figure out what their maturity level is and try and get to that kind of level as well. You have to mature to be a better player.”

Snyder said his role as a student-athlete demands so much of his time, he enjoyed the opportunity to have his family come and watch him play.

“My grandma came out to watch (him play),” he said. “She was carted around the entire time, but she had a blast, getting to watch me hit some good golf shots. It was a real treat.”