I am so sorry for the delay in updating you about Nationals!!!! It got extremely crazy there once things got going. I had no time to blog–only a little time to download some quick photo’s to our team’s Facebook page and that was it. My apologies to all of you! I was thinking I’d have more free time, but that wasn’t the case. When we weren’t playing, we were either practicing, strategizing, eating, attending a banquet or sleeping! Please don’t give up on this blog though, as I plan on doing a better job to keep you up to date this next season, as I am certain that we will have more FUN and EXCITING news to talk about!
As for Nationals—all I can say is, “WOW—WHAT A WEEK!!!!” It was an incredible experience and one, which I don’t think any of us will ever forget. From the moment we arrived in the Orlando airport, we were flying high (even though we had landed! Haha!). We drove about an hour to the course, and we could feel the “spirit of Nationals” in the air (along with the humidity!). The warm air actually felt great—we were in National territory and we were all smiles! We arrived at Mission Inn Resort where we were greeted by NCAA committee people and the Tournament Director and given some really nice tee prizes (NCAA backpack, blanket and ball marker). Everyone treated us so well!
The next day (Sunday), we did a walk-through, where the players weren’t allowed to hit any shots—but only to take notes, look at breaks on the greens, and roll a ball on the greens to get a feel for the speed. It was all about figuring out where to land drives, hit approach shots, etc. We followed right behind Methodist (the #1 team in the nation), so we tried to study harder than them and take more notes!! Haha! We practiced a lot that day too—on the range and on the putting green—getting acclimated to the heat, humidity and our “home away from home” for the next 5 days!
Monday was our practice round and everyone teed off at 9am (shot-gun start). Now this might not sound early to you—but that’s East Coast time, so that was 6am on the West Coast (our time!)—which meant that we had to be at the course by 5am (our time!) and up at 4am (our time!) for breakfast!!!! So—while most of you all were sound asleep, we were getting ready to take on the nation in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida!
Arriving at the practice round, we could feel the intensity in the air as all the teams started arriving that we had heard so much about. We all had a special assigned parking spot with our school name and mascot on a big sign!! I have to mention, our George Fox gals were the FIRST to arrive into the parking lot on day one—so that was a good sign to us and everyone that we came to play! It may be cool to be fashionably late at social functions, but not at Nationals! 🙂
Tuesday was our first round—starting in the afternoon. We were paired with the top 2 teams in the nation, so we were a little nervous, but our players handled the pressure like veterans. We felt ready, but knew that we had FOUR days to show our skills, so it was definitely going to be both a tough physical and mental challenge!!
Now, some of you “non-golfers” out there may be thinking “how physical can it be to play golf for 5 days?” You just walk and hit, no serious aerobic activity going on there, right?! Well—if you figure the average 18 hole course is a little over 6 miles long, and this course included some serious hill-climbs on several different holes, and you have to carry a large bag of clubs that weighs1 10 pounds or more, and do this “hike” in 90 degree temperatures and 100% humidity, then perhaps it’s not so “easy-peasy” after all!! Get the picture!! We probably drank more Gaterade and water than an entire football team playing a game in August in Texas!
Plus, the mental exhaustion is tough as well. You have to be relaxed, but focused, and calm but ready to take on each shot with a mental pre-shot routine and concentration!! Meanwhile, the players knew that many fans were clicking on Golfstat back home and checking out their scores–so that just added to the pressure to perform, but at the same time was thrilling!!
Speaking of anxiety, I didn’t mention the baby alligators that were hanging out around the water hazards either!! They seemed small and harmless, but we heard that they were fast so that added a little tension if someone’s golf ball landed close to the gator’s territory!
All and all, our gals played great, and as you know, after 4 exciting tournament days, we finished in 8th—just one stroke out of 7th and three strokes out of 6th and so close to getting a big ‘ol NCAA trophy!!!! Ahh—so close!!!!
We fought, we learned, we finished top 10!!! What a ride, what a journey, what a year!!! Stay tuned for this next year!!! We have more to show you!
Thank you to all our fans—including our President Robin Baker, who traveled to Florida to catch the action!!! It was so cool to have his support there, and his photography work was outstanding!! Lots of great photo’s, thanks to him!!
Oh–I forgot to mention a couple more things, on the last day (Friday), we got to witness the final Atlantis Space Shuttle launch in the afternoon while we were out on the course!! Does it get any better than that? Photo’s to follow!
We also got interviewed after the tournament on the 18th green about our “pink hat” breast cancer awareness campaign. It was so fun, and even though we didn’t get a trophy, we felt like winners and that we had made our mark at Mission Hills!!! Unfortunately, the story didn’t air, but we want you to know that when we win this thing in the future, we are now prepared for the big interview!!! 🙂
All of you have been great, and we appreciate your ongoing support as we grow our women’s golf program at GFU! Go Bruins! (P.S. Check out our slide show below from Nationals AND our new “tie-dyed” team polo’s–at the end!!).