Page, men’s golf building on winning culture

The Kent State Men’s golf team has seen consistent success for many years on a national level, but the team seems confident that it can push further this year.

The next tournament the Flashes will next compete in the Boilermaker Invitational in Lafayette, Indiana. When the Flashes competed in the same competition in 2016, the team was ranked number 48. The team is now ranked number 12.

“That’s a big jump,” coach Herb Page said. “And we did well last year. It’s mostly the same guys, just a year older. That’s on them; they’ve worked hard.”

Many Kent State golfers have gone on to play professionally, and some alumni have had great success.

Kent State alumnus Ben Curtis graduated in 2000 and went on to play professional golf. He won the 2003 Open Championship, tied for second on the 2008 PGA championship and competed in many other tournaments.

Assistant coach Jon Mills, who played with Curtis at Kent State, also played professionally for several years. He won the 2005 Canadian PGA Championship and played professionally before eventually returning to Kent State as a coach.

“We’ve always had a very good team,” Mills said. “It’s not rare to have the quality of players we have. When I played here we went to nationals three out of my four years. I want to instill the mentality that they should be there.”

Current players also plan to follow a similar path. Junior Ian Holt plans to play professionally.

“That’s my plan,” Holt said. “I’ve just got to find my way on a tour and see where it goes from there.”

According to Kent State’s website, there are over 50 golfers involved in professional golf.

When Mills and Curtis attended Kent State, they didn’t have the facilities the golf team now uses to practice. In 2007, the Ferrara & Page Golf Training and Learning Facility opened, allowing the team to practice in any weather with an indoor practice green and putting space, and stalls to practice driving from inside the facility.

“The building was two million dollars,” Page said. “No university money, no athletic money. We just raised the money.”

The facility helps the team compete against teams nationally.

“We play a national circuit,” Page said. “It’s because we can practice through the winter that we can play so well against these teams from places like Florida and Louisiana.”

It’s also a newer convenience for players.

“We used to drive up to Chapel Hill to hit balls at an outdoor heated range,” Mills said. “That was our winter practice, so it’s nice to have something so close to campus.”

Mills returned to Kent State in 2016 to assist Page in coaching the team.

“I loved it when I was here,” Mills said. “I stayed close with Herb after I left. It’s awesome to see the growth here with the golf team and it’s great to come back and be a part of it.”

In 2016, Ben Curtis assisted in coaching the team while Page underwent heart surgery.

During Curtis’ tenure working with the golfers, Holt set a new record for the Kent State golfer with the lowest 54-hole round. Holt and senior Chase Johnson both beat the record previously set by Curtis. Holt scored two strokes lower than Curtis and Johnson scored one lower.

The Flashes have the fifth best stroke average in the nation, according to

“We did very well in the fall and we’re doing just as well in the spring,” Page said. “The consistent finishes and wins are good. The reason is the depth of the team.

“It was a challenge after we didn’t get to the finals last year. We’ve done way better, but we’ve still gotta finish it off.”

The team has competed in NCAA regionals and finals several times, and the chance to go back is on many of the players minds.

 “We’re matched up against the best teams in the nation,” Holt said. “We’re going up against teams like LSU and we’re beating them. Once we all get put together, it’s hard to beat.

“I think everybody on this team thinks we can win a national championship. That’s on everybody’s mind. I think we’re good enough to do it, so hopefully we can.”

Erik Svensson is a reporter. Contact him at