During the 2014 season, Aces junior Dana Hayden will provide readers insight into the day-to-day goings on of the golf squad. Both teams are performing at an exceptional level in the spring, the men won the Don Benbow Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. while the women took second at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate the next week.
Both the Men’s and Women’s University of Evansville Golf Teams have returned from their recent adventures in Jacksonville, Florida and Sevierville, Tennessee. On Friday, March 7 (the final class day before spring break), the teams gathered mid-afternoon after everyone finished classes, and headed south. We completed half of our journey, travelling to just north of Atlanta, and drove the rest of the way to Jacksonville on Saturday.
Upon arrival, we drove straight to the golf course where the tournament was going to be held (Jacksonville Beach Golf Club) and practiced until dark. After the practice round on Sunday, we played in the tournament hosted by Butler on Monday and Tuesday in the cooler-than-expected weather (mid-60’s to low 70’s), featuring a sky that was clear and a beautiful shade of blue.
The men’s team ended up winning their tournament, and the women received a lot of valuable experience to help in the remainder of the season as we build toward the MVC tournament. Everyone had the day off on Wednesday, but the weather was so beautiful that most of us enjoyed playing a practice round at a nearby course, which was very nice but challenging. That afternoon, we had the privilege of visiting TPC Sawgrass, home of the both the PGA Tour and the famous Players Championship tournament. The golf club opened up its driving range and putting green for us to utilize, and we went on a tour of the grounds along with our friend who is a member there.
On Thursday, we played another practice round at Sawgrass Country Club, which is located right across the street from TPC Sawgrass. After the round, we had a relaxing afternoon on the beach, which was very much welcomed after our tournament and practices. On our last full day in Jacksonville, we played a final practice round at a beautiful course named Ponte Vedra Country Club. That Friday evening, the women’s team took pictures on the beach to help commemorate the fun week and gorgeous sunset. The Florida portion came to an end when we departed for Sieverville, Tennessee early Saturday morning, March 15.
We arrived at Sieverville (near Gatlinburg) at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains later that evening, and we noticed the drastic temperature change. Although the area had posted “dry alerts” with the danger of fire for the heavily wooded area the days before our arrival, it rained hard Sunday morning, but we were still able to squeeze in a practice round Sunday afternoon. It rained more Sunday night, and although the course drained pretty well, the result at tournament time was a soggy, wet golf course. Our beautiful Florida sunshine transformed into a cold, misty rain accompanied by a 39-degree temperature and wind for Monday’s first round. The mist stopped late Monday and the wind helped dry the course a bit for Tuesday’s final round. The women’s team ended up placing second in the event.
After the trek, we arrived back in Evansville that night after our long and eventful journey, most of which occurred over spring break, to continue catching up on coursework. The women’s team will travel to Carbondale to play in the Saluki Invitational this coming Sunday and Monday, March 30-31.