While the rest of Emory’s student body was busy finishing up summer internships and preparing for the upcoming school year, the Emory golf team was preparing for its fall campaign. Instead of sticking to the humid, rainy confines of summertime Atlanta, the Eagles headed overseas to Scotland for a weeklong trip spanning Aug. 17 to Aug. 24.
“The trip was one of the best golfing experiences of my life,” senior Alec Berens said. “It was great to get the opportunity to see all the history and tradition at the home of golf.”
All but one of the returning players on the Eagles roster made the trip. The team went to a different course for six of their seven days, beginning with the Nairn Golf Club, which has hosted two Walker Cups, and ending with Carnoustie, seven-time home of the Open Championship.
Senior Will Roth kept a blog throughout the trip, mentioning tidbits like Head Coach John Sjoberg’s favorite course (Royal Dornoch) and highlights such as witnessing a 70-year-old Scottish golfer sinking his first ever hole-in-one. After finishing one the legendary Carnoustie course, Roth signed off with “although no one played as well as Padraig Harrington or Tom Watson, we did enjoy the round very much.”
Junior Johnathan Chen noted the differences between playing at home and in Scotland.
“Playing conditions were really tough, as the wind would gust up to 35 miles per hour a couple of the days,” he said. “The constant rain and firm greens also made it more difficult. The weather definitely took some time to get used to.”
Some challenges were a bit less frustrating.
“The competition Coach Sjoberg had set up against the St. Andrews University Golf Team was by far the coolest event on the trip,” Chen said. “We all learned a lot from their different style of play. They were all very welcoming, and both teams really just had a blast.”
The Eagles hope that the trip will adequately prepare them for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. They enter with high expectations, ranked seventh in the national Division III preseason poll after finishing fourth last season.
Chen, who finished third individually, commented that the trip was good for more than a late-summer vacation.
“[It] was great,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time abroad and got a good feel for the different style of play. This trip also helped our team chemistry, and I really got to know the younger guys on the team much better.”
The team will open their regular season on Sept. 21 at the two-day Fall Preview in Greensboro, N.C. Berens, for one, is confident about the Eagles’ chances.
“We all worked as much as we could on our games over the summer,” he said. “Hopefully, with the loss of only one senior, we will be much better this year.”
Contributing writer Seanette Ting contributed reporting.
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Photo by John Sjoberg