One wears cowboy boots and blue jeans from tee to green, another is a part-time law student, a third gets paid for his duties with a tuition remission and another is just a few years older than his players.
They are all golf coaches at Washington area universities, and they have only one thing in common: they love the game.
They can't stand on the sidelines and bark instructions. They can't call timeouts. They can't even send in plays. So what does a college golf coach really do?
"I try to keep my kids in line . . . nothing but orange juice and coke," said Randy Hoffman, Maryland's 28-year-old coach. "These kids are very immature. But then I've seen some 50-year-old golfers who aren't much better. I take extra money with me to each tournament now and they know at any given moment they might get an airplane ticket back home."
Before the start of each season, Hoffman and his coaching colleagues pick their teams based on qualifying rounds. The five players with the lowest scores lead off the first tournament. After that first competition the top two are exempt, while other team members must requalify for the next tourney.
Maryland has the most sophisticated golf program of all the area schools, offering a total of five full scholarships. All 10 players this year are on partial assistance, at least. The school also has its own 18-hole course on campus, where Hoffman, a former Terp golfer himself, also serves as head pro.
Hoffman -- who grew up in a house on a golf course in Pennsylvania -- placed 13th in last year's Mid-Atlantic PGA championships. He acquires his players by sifting through 200-300 applicants major high school and amateur tournaments. He then narrows his choices down "according to past performances."
He says dealing with his golfers' moods after poor rounds is one of the most imortant functions. "They feel like the world is falling apart; they get manic-depressive," Hoffman said. "Successful players are egomaniacs. Its rare to find a good golfer with a nice personality. The bad guys succeed."
George Washington Coach Joe Berry appeared at a recent college tournament wearing cowboy boots. "They're the only shoes I can afford," winked Berry, 42, who divides his time between a lucrative real estate business in the area and a 1,700-acre beef-cattle farm in Hampshire County, W. Va.
Berry was playing golf one day with his firend, Bob Faris, the GW athletic director and former coach. Faris asked him if he'd like to coach the team. He has held the job, at no salary, for three years.
Berry hits practice balls with the 10 members of his walk-on team and occasionally plays with them. "If something is radically wrong, I can help them," said Berry, a five-handicapper. "But if they don't have the ability, I can't."
Ray Murphy, 33, of American University, has just enough time in his busy schedule each week for golf. He is the assistant athletic director at AU and a third-year law student. Murphy, a six-handicap golfer, says he prefers to deal with heads, not swings. "At this level, golf is a mental game, he said. "I like to teach the players in the classroom how to look at a course they have never seen."
Since the season is so short, Murphy thinks the key for his players is to analyze every course they play. "I teach them how to stay out of trouble. When you drive to a tournament and arrive a half-hour before starting time, it's the only way," he said.
In his five years as coach, Murphy's team has an overall record of 76-26. On the few occasions his team is able to practice, Murphy usually plays along, one of his few fringe benefits.
Steve Miller, 26, is in his second year as Georgetown's first-ever golf coach. Fringe benefit is trading off his services in return for a partial tuition grant. He negotiated the arragnement after "giving lessons at the Washington course to one of the vice presidents of Georgetown." Last year, he led his team to its first winning record.
Miller is pursuing a degree in business administration so that "I can find a better job in golf, maybe as a director at a development somewhere. I'll be more marketable."
Miller, the head teaching pro at Washington, helps his players with their swings. When they have time, he takes them out and plays with them, but "that doesn't happen often enough," he said.