Unlike the vast majority of other sports, golf is extremely individualistic: you either sink or swim entirely on your own abilities. This is what makes Chris Crisologo and the SFU golf team such an interesting case. Chris found individual success early on in his career at SFU, winning the GNAC Freshman of the Year award. He has also tasted success through his team, as men’s golf won the GNAC title last year, playing both for themselves and for the greater good of the team.
“I’ve been playing golf since I was eight,” says Chris. “I got introduced to it from my dad. There’s a lot of time involved with this sport.
“It’s huge for me coming in from [. . .] and being able to compete at a young age.”
Although Chris started golf early, it’s not the only sport he has tried his hand at. “I’ve liked a whole bunch of other sports. I actually started off playing baseball and tennis. [At first], golf was secondary to all the other team sports. But then when I got into it individually I decided that being part of a team wasn’t as great as the accomplishments of being an individual. You get more recognition that way.”
So how does it feel to be a part of a team now at SFU, where not only are you playing for yourself, but for the team as a whole? “We usually don’t care about who wins a tournament,” explains Chris. “It’s just about getting our team to the best spot possible. I’m rooting for all my teammates every round. Obviously we’re trying to compete against the other teams, so you hope our team plays well as opposed to the other teams.”
The men’s golf team features many players from around the Lower Mainland, which is what attracted Chris to the team in the first place. “The guys I’m playing with now, I’ve been competing against since I was eight. So I’m pretty good friends with [Kevin] Vigna, Alan Tolusso, Marcus Brown, all of the guys who are local guys. [. . .] It wasn’t too hard to make a decision to come here, knowing that I had friends who I could go to on this team.”
This made it easy for Chris to integrate himself into the team last year. “[My friendships] helped me progress my way through the season. As things went on, going into conferences, learning from [my teammates] and what they drew on from past experiences. So it was easy for me to connect with them, because I knew the team well,” he says.
All of this reached a head for Chris last year when he won Freshman of the Year in the GNAC, as well as his team winning the GNAC title. “It was something special, I can’t deny that. [. . .] It’s just a huge accomplishment, that’s all I can really say.
“[The GNAC title] was definitely better as a team,” he adds. “I think for us last year, making it to nationals was our goal and [also] making it to the matchplay portion. So all the individual accomplishments doesn’t really matter unless you get to the team goal.
“That’s what makes this sport different from all the other ones. Where individually you’re competing on your own, but you still have a team goal. And for us, the team goal is more important than all the individual accolades we get.”
Despite this, Chris still has some individual goals for himself this season as well as some lofty ones for the team. “Last year I got on the second team All-America for the NCAA, which was a huge accomplishment for the golf program here at SFU. So hopefully I can push that to a first team place. [And] also just helping my team out as many ways a possible. Whether that’s winning a tournament or making par on the 18th hole to win the tournament for the team.
“I truly believe that our team goal is to win the national tournament,” Chris continues. “We have a great team, a whole bunch of guys who can play well. We haven’t shown it through this last semester, but hopefully we can pick it up starting in March, and then peak for the national championship.”
The long break in the middle of the season is unique to the golf team. Unlike SFU football, who have game every week for two months, the golf team will not be playing next until the beginning of March, when they take part in the Notre Dame De Namur Invitational.
“We have team workouts,” says Chris, explaining what the team does on such a long break. “It’s always fun to have some team bonding in that sense. Practices aren’t too severe, just working on our game, learning from our mistakes from past events, [and] working on certain parts of the game that we see that we need to improve on to make us better for the spring.”
Starting in March, Crisologo and the men’s golf team will look to defend their GNAC title, and hope to take the program to new heights.