Print Edition: May 6, 2015
UFV Cascades golf coach Chris Bertram will take his coaching to an international level this summer when he coaches the Team Canada men’s golf team at this year’s Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea.
Bertram explained that the Universiade is similar to the Olympic Games, but for over 12,000 university athletes from 170 different countries. Organized by the International University Sports Federation, the event takes place every two years, each time hosted by a different country.
“All of the athletes get together in a city, live in a village, compete at different venues; there’s a big opening ceremony, there’s a big closing ceremony,” he said. “It’s very much like the Olympic games.”
This won’t be Bertram’s first time coaching internationally, as he was the assistant coach for last year’s World University Golf Championship.
“We had a successful run, and then I knew that this deal in South Korea was coming up this year, so I applied again and I was accepted to be the head coach for the men’s team,” he said.
Bertram credits this opportunity to the success of the Cascades golf team.
“I’ve been coaching the UFV Cascades golf team for about the last 10 years. Our program has had a good deal of success in that time, and at some point these opportunities to coach internationally come up,” he said. “It just kind of evolved over the course of 10 years. You have some success, you get noticed, and opportunities start to come up.”
Although the Universiade is an international event, Bertram finds the coaching similar to his coaching at UFV.
“You’re talking about athletes that are the same age. The Canadian athletes that may end up on this team, we compete against them and so I’m used to being around athletes at this level,” he said. “But when you go to a world championship, the level of competition is a lot higher because you’re playing the best players from around the world.”
It is still uncertain whether any of the UFV Cascades’ golfers will be competing in the Universiade as part of Team Canada. The Cascades will compete in the Golf Canada University Championship at the end of this month, where the top three individuals will qualify to move on to the Universiade.
Although the competition is stiff, Bertram thinks that with a little hard work, UFV golfers have a shot of qualifying.
“From that tournament, the top three individuals will be the ones that qualify to go to the Universiade. That might end up being one of our players, but it’s going to be really, really difficult and there’s going to be a lot of really good competition there,” he said. “I think a couple of our players have a really good chance, but they’re going to have to go and earn it.”
The Universiade doesn’t start until July 3, but Bertram will still be busy until then.
“In the meantime, it will be communicating with the players, getting everybody together for some meetings, talking about what to prepare for, what to look forward to, what the whole experience is going to involve — trying to prepare everybody psychologically for what’s going to be a really great experience, but certainly a pressure-packed one, too.”