June 27, 2013
Click here to check out a photo gallery of Sara's travels in Asia!
A little blog from Asia! First of all I want to thank the University of Tennessee for the great four years I have had and the opportunities I have gotten. I would never have been able to go on an amazing trip like this and get to meet so many great people.
This trip is organized by Lawrence Wheat and you can read about the trip at ncaaallstargolf.com. We are 10 girls from 10 different universities and we will visit Japan, Korea and China.
The trip started on June 17th where I headed to L.A. to meet the other nine girls who would arrive on June 18th. On the 19th, we played at Palos Verdes Golf Club with sponsors from L.A. and this was a great start to our trip! We played a shamble where we took the best drive and played our own ball from there. My team had the lowest gross score so that was awesome and a great start to the trip!
Early Thursday morning we drove to LAX for our flight to Tokyo. The girls who shot the lowest six scores from the day before got to drive in a limousine to the airport and I was lucky enough to be in it, that was so cool and the first time I ever been in a limousine!
The flight to Tokyo was 11 hours and very long! And after that we had a 2.5 hour bus ride to Camp Zama which is a U.S. army base.
The next day we played at Camp Atsugi where the U.S. Navy is located. It's amazing to see that they have opportunities to play on good golf courses and we had a lot of fun! Afterwards, one of the Navy men showed us a maintenance hangar where we met some of the air wing from the squadron of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. They had flown in after doing practice maneuvers in Iwo Jima. It was a really neat experience for us because the squadron team members explained their functions in the military. The jets have the length of a football field to land on an aircraft carrier, with not much room for error. After asking lots of questions and taking even more pictures, we headed back to the bus and left Atsugi for Camp Zama.
Day 2 in Japan we played at Camp Zama with U.S. Army men. I played with three guys who were a part of the jet-detachment. They are usually at work all seven days a week so they were really excited that all three got to take the day off to play a round of golf! One guy's daughter also played in the group and she was 13 and hcp 3.7! She played really good and I hope that she someday will be a future Lady Vol! The golf course was very hilly but also very pretty and I am so amazed that an army base could have such a nice golf course. In the afternoon we went to Tokyo for sightseeing and we walked through lots of small markets for souvenirs and snacks!
These two days had a great impact on me, not because of the golf but because of the people I played with. Even though I am not American, it was mind-blowing to hear their stories and what they do for their country. Two of the guys were here in Japan and their wives at home, and the third one had done his time here and he and his family are headed home in August.
Day 3 we played the same course as the second day but we played in groups consisted of only Japanese people. We were all expecting that to be interesting and wondered if they spoke English. I played with two nice guys and one gave me an apple pie at the turn which was SO good!! My game finally came together and I played good that day. The others days I was a little shaky but it was good to finally be able to make some putts and make some birdies! In the afternoon some of the guys that Shena (one of the girls) had played with had invited us out to an army training camp and we got to shoot into a practice simulator like the soldiers do for practice. We got to shoot a machine gun, pistol, m16 and grenade launcher. It was so cool but I was so bad. I kept missing and it is a lot harder to shoot than I expected!
Day 4 we finally had a day off after three days of playing golf. We do not have a car since we are a group of 11 people so we were traveling by train which can be really confusing! Larry (our leader) put me in charge of getting us to Kamakura and I messed up on the first part of the trip but I got it after that! We went to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha and another temple. Larry went back early so us girls had to make it home on our own - which we of course did in the first try ;)
Day 5 we had to get up early to go play Nakayama Country Club to play real Japanese style golf. Again we played with Japanese people. We drove down there, ate breakfast, then we played the first nine holes of our round, walked in to eat lunch and then back out to play the last nine holes. The last nine holes was in pouring rain but everyone was still in a great mood and played their best.
Many of the tournaments we do aren't always about competing for prizes but our playing partners did today and one of the guys I played with won something! The coolest thing I have ever tried with a caddy was at this golf course. We had women as caddies and they had a little motor cart where all four bags were on and they would run around and give us our clubs. It was really convenient since we played in rain but it also took a bit longer to play since we had to wait for her to come around to our ball.
Tomorrow we will head to Nagano which is six hours north from here. We will play two days before we head to Korea on Sunday!
Until next time - Sara