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Jackie Gonzalez


My name is Jackie Gonzalez and I just graduated from the College of the Holy Cross last May where I played collegiate golf for 4 years. In order to sum up what playing college golf is like, I feel as though I need to describe an average weekday and an average tournament weekend. So here we go...

Weekday: As a D1 program, we had mandatory lift 2 days a week. So on any Tuesday or Thursday I would start my day at 6:15 for weight training with the mens and womens golf team. From there I would go back home, shower, eat breakfast, and head to my first class. Most days I had classes that started around 9am and ended around 3pm. This worked well for golf because our golf course access didn’t begin until around 2 or 3pm every day. After class I would check to see who was going to practice and I would grab my car and start circling around campus to grab people. We would spend about 2 hours at the course either hitting balls or playing a few holes and then we would head back to school for everyone to get dinner and hit the books. Writing this all out makes it sound pretty relaxed, and it honestly was not a super stressful schedule as we could practice as often or as little as we wanted, but there were always times in which it became a lot to have athletic commitments along with academic responsibilities. Traveling was always one of those tricky juggling acts. 

Tournament weekend: On a weekend that we traveled, it would normally begin on a Friday. I would have already notified my professors well in advance if I was going to miss class or an exam and would have a friend take notes for me while I was gone. My coach would come grab us in the morning and we would drive in the van to whichever course we would be playing at. We would play a practice round,usually only 9 holes because we would run out of time, and then we would go to a restaurant for a big meal (our favorite part). We would get back to the hotel at a reasonable hour and maybe hang together and watch tv or get some work done. The next day we would usually get up pretty early, grab breakfast at the hotel and stop for coffee on the way to the course. We would play our round, go out for another meal, and come back to the hotel and crash. After Sunday's round we would get back in the van and fall asleep on the way back to school. I usually tried to get a good nap in on the way back because I more often than not had a long night in the library ahead of me to catch up on the work I couldn’t get to while we were gone. 

Although traveling was sort of stressful, it was also one of my favorite parts of college golf. Van rides with my teammates or huge dinners after a long round was always something I looked forward to. I will say that I think my college golf experience was a little bit different than some other D1 athletic programs. I was able to have golf be as large a part of my college experience as I wanted it to be and that flexibility was really important to me when I was looking at schools. I wanted to study abroad, join clubs, play golf and succeed at an academically rigorous school and the balance I found at HC was exactly what I wanted. Every school and every program is different in what they expect from their athletes and I think it’s important to decide how big a role you want golf to play in those 4 years. For me personally, it was really special to have golf as a huge part of my college career but not the entire experience. 





Blog


Alexis Florio

Looking back on my junior golf experience, I am grateful for the ways it taught me to become self-motivated, have discipline and set high goals for myself to work towards. I had to make sacrifices and manage my time in order to balance school and a social life. These skills I learned through junior golf have transferred into my life as a college golfer at Columbia University. I absolutely love the ability to balance my academics and continue to play competitive golf. While junior golf was an individual sport, college golf has both a team and individual competition. Being a part of a team of girls who are driven and passionate about golf and their other interests has been a highlight of my college experience. I spend most of my time with my teammates and they are some of my closest friends. From early morning workouts to dinners in the dining hall and traveling on weekends to play in tournaments, my team is my biggest support system and an amazing group of girls to be with. Playing college golf is a demanding task and you have to do it because you want to and have a love for the game. A typical day when we are in season will begin at 7am with a team workout with our athletic trainer. This usually includes strength training and using various weights/dynamic exercises that help our golf swings. We have workouts 3 times a week. I will grab breakfast to-go at the dining hall and run back to my dorm to shower before my first class at 8:40. I am in class until 12pm and then go back to my dorm or meet friends for lunch. I will use my time before afternoon practice to study or attend meetings. The team van leaves for practice at 2:30 and we are at the course from 3-5:30 either doing drills on the practice facilities or going out to play 9 holes. When we return to campus around 6-6:30, some of the girls on the team get dinner together. I will then go back to my dorm, shower, catch up with my roommate and then depart for the library. I usually spend the rest of my night studying alone or with friends, anywhere from 8-11pm. I like to be in bed by midnight because getting a good night’s sleep is so important as a student athlete! 

I love the structure that being a student-athlete requires but always make sure I schedule time on the weekends for “me-time” if we are not competing. I wouldn’t trade my experience as a student athlete for anything and I credit the game of golf for leading me to so many amazing places and friendships. If you are passionate about something, like golf, work hard and always remember to enjoy what you are doing. 






Blog

Samantha Leary








Hello my name is Samantha Leary and I am a senior and captain of the Assumption University Women’s Golf Team.  I grew up in Hingham Massachusetts where I played on the girls golf team.  I am adamant that one of my best decisions was choosing to attend and play division II golf at Assumption University.  Assumption has allowed me to continue my golf career and receive a quality education.  However, as a prospective collegiate athlete, I had little information about what a collegiate woman golfer’s “daily routine” looked like.  Therefore, this blog post is going to outline my “daily routine” as a student-athlete and what it is truly like being on a women’s golf team.  

On weekdays, my teammates and I meet in the varsity weight room at 7 am for our twice a week lift sessions.  At these lift sessions, our trainer gives us a variety of exercises to improve our strength and flexibility.  Then it is a mad dash to my dorm room where I quickly shower and eat something before class.  Each semester, my classmates and I take five, three-credit classes during a 15-week semester.  After class, I usually attend my professor’s office hours to present an idea for an upcoming paper or clarify key concepts.  At 2:30 pm I quickly go back to my dorm room and change into my golf clothes.  My teammates and I meet at the school van and drive thirty-minutes to our home course, Blackstone National Golf Course.  We will spend two or three hours at practice doing range work or playing nine holes.  Once back on campus, I will get a quick dinner from the dining hall and go to the library to complete homework and long-term assignments.  On Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have a team study hall from 8-9 pm where the entire women’s golf team does their homework together.  Once I finish all of my work, I go back to my dorm room to spend time with my roommates and repeat this “daily routine” the next day.

One of the best parts of being on a women’s golf team is the deep friendship and camaraderie that develops with your teammates.  During the fall and spring golf season, I see my teammates every day which has resulted in them being some of my best friends.  We golf, study, joke, and hang out together.  By joining any collegiate sports team, you will be provided, instant friends! 

It is very important to understand that joining any collegiate sport is a huge commitment. As a student-athlete, I am a student first and foremost.  This means that I am constantly balancing my school-work with tournaments, practice, and other obligations.  Although difficult, this process is very possible and rewarding.  Due to our hard work, my teammates and I finished in second place at the NE10 Conference Championship. As I stated before, “one of my best decisions was choosing to attend and play division II golf at Assumption University.”  Collegiate golf has given me so many amazing experiences that I would not trade for the world.  If you have any questions about the recruiting process or collegiate athletics in general, feel free to contact me at [email protected]  

Take care, 

Samantha Leary, 2021



Blog

Liz LaVerghetta


Every Saturday morning at 7am, I remember getting out of my dad’s car and looking through the dim, dewy mist that shrouded MGA Links’ clubhouse at the shapes huddled around the practice green for our weekly First Tee clinic, thinking to myself “let’s go out and show the boys how it’s done.” I was unafraid of judgment and criticism back then when I was 10 years old—wish I had that same level of innocent fearlessness now!

I became interested in playing golf before it was really popular among kids my age, before the great programs that we have around now (like GIGL) were specifically established for the benefit of bringing young girls together over a sport that can be very individualistic, and, quite frankly, patriarchal. I grew up playing with only boys and was taught by only male instructors and coaches; however, this never fazed me, because it was all that I had ever known. Through the First Tee program at MGA Links (now the Links at MassGolf), I forged some incredible friendships that shaped my play and mental outlook, challenging me to hone my skills and progress in the game as a junior competitor. After I had been playing golf for a few years, I eventually began participating in WGAM sponsored events and met one of my closest childhood friends at MGA…who happened to be a girl! Finally, I was able to share the game with someone who would more deeply understand my experiences, but I must admit that I was still used to playing with the boys and relished the opportunity to regularly compete against them. 

In high school, where I played on the Norton High men’s varsity team, the boys on my team proved to be some of my best allies and friends, having my back if opposing players were giving me a hard time and always offering advice if I asked and encouragement. Once they saw that I could play with them (many of whom I grew up playing with at MGA), they no longer saw me as just a girl on their team, but, rather, accepted me as a golfer who could meaningfully contribute to the cause. My male opponents, however, would often express that it was a lose/lose situation for them, claiming that even if they did win, they only won against a girl. Other high school coaches always seemed to champion girls who put up with playing on opposing men’s teams, yet the real kicker was that some of those same coaches intentionally moved the tournament tees back one (or two) tee boxes so that I (along with any other girls involved in the matches) was forced to play from the regular men’s or even longer tees at times. Situations such as these merely fueled my fire to get better and win (detrimentally so in hindsight). Between this motivation to consistently play well and my desire to keep up with the boys (distance-wise—something that proved terribly futile as the boys on my team hit puberty and essentially gained 6 inches on me overnight), my game definitely hit a rough patch as I went into my junior and senior years; I was crippled with anxiety, swinging out of my shoes, and getting inside my own head about every shot. I desperately needed to slow everything down, return to the basics, and remember why I loved the game in the first place. 

In retrospect, largely playing with boys during my junior golf and high school careers gave me a competitive edge that both helped me and hindered me. At one end, it instilled a mental toughness in me, but, on the other hand, it messed with my game, to put it plainly. Leaving high school, golf didn’t seem fun to me anymore, but I already committed to play collegiately at Bates College (#GoBobcats!), a small liberal arts college in Lewiston, Maine, so I tried clearing my head going into the summer and hoped that a change of scenery in college would do wonders.

My college golf experience couldn’t have been more different than my high school experience. Although I loved playing on the men’s team in high school and essentially “being one of the guys,” I came to find that the comradery that one fosters with teammates on a women’s team is unmatched. At Bates, I played on an exclusively women’s team, which was an extremely close-knit group of girls who shared a realistic passion for the game. I practiced with members of the men’s team quite often as well, but it was certainly nice to have a few more girls hit from the next tee box up with me. Our season was relatively short, but undoubtedly intense from September to mid-November. We practiced every day after class, coordinating with each other in order to carpool to our home course, Martindale CC, which was roughly 15 minutes away from campus, and traveled across New England for multi-day matches nearly every weekend.    

Looking back at my college golf career, my schedule seemed relatively tame and predictable compared what I have heard about D2 and D1 programs. We never had morning lifting sessions before class, were able to opt out of practice if we felt overwhelmed with academic commitments or had another reasonable excuse, and were led by an understanding, compassionate Maine Hall of Fame coach with over 45 years of experience at Bates. As captain of the women’s team during my junior and senior years, I wish that I had implemented a bit more structure into our practices, rather than simply hitting balls at the range or playing as many holes as we could squeeze in before dark, and established team lifting sessions at the campus gym that was quite literally a 30 second walk from our dorms—food for thought for those of you who intend to play D3 golf and are looking to possibly contribute some new ideas to the team!

Playing D3 college golf afforded a tremendous level of balance; academics always came first, although I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that golf still wasn’t a demanding component of my schedule. Lab group meetings, exams, and thesis work often fell to second priority when my team had weekend matches. A juggling act was certainly necessary during the week in order to keep up with daily classes, coursework, and social engagements. 

Some takeaways from my college: Play hard, study harder, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel as though you need to take a step back to reassess and reorder academic priorities over athletic responsibilities, do it. Talk to your coaches and come up with a game plan that makes you feel comfortable. 

I would be lying if I claimed that I still don’t get frustrated or upset with my play sometimes, but I have learned to shake off this negative energy a bit better, give myself a hole to mope and/or pout if necessary, and then channel my focus into the next hole and move on with a smile on my face…because golf is supposed to be fun, right?! The answer is YES, above all else. Nowadays, I love playing casually with family, friends, and old teammates—and my game has never been better! I am looking to play in a few tournaments next season, but, for now, I am savoring a stress-free playing environment. One of the reasons why I have always loved this game is that it is a lifelong sport, representing a constant uphill battle and continuous pursuit of improving oneself. Golf—as with life—should be taken one shot—one day—at a time, where every hole can be imagined as a mini competition against yourself with the end goal of emerging better than before—just promise not to take yourself too seriously 😉


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