2013 NCAA ALL-STAR GOLF TEAM ASIA TOUR

Your Subtitle text
BLOG
2013 NCAA All-Star Golf Team
By Audrey Dalton
Georgetown University
Meet the team!

Taylor Babcock - Barry University - Class of 2013
Savana Bezdicek - Northern Arizona University - Class of 2016
Audrey Dalton - Georgetown University - Class of 2013
Lea Garner - Brigham Young University - Class of 2016
Emily Haas - University of Louisville - Class of 2015
Victoria House - University of San Francisco - Class of 2014
Sara Monberg - University of Tennessee - Class of 2013
Sadie Palmer - Southern Utah University - Class of 2013
Samantha Stockton - Point Loma Nazarene University - Class of 2015
Shena Yang - University of South Florida - Class of 2013

DAY 00: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sara flew into Los Angeles from Denmark Monday night and the rest of us arrived at LAX on Tuesday. Emily, Victoria, Sadie, and Lea met Larry for the first round of pick-ups from the airport. After dropping off their bags at Larry's house, they wandered around the Santa Monica pier to sightsee and do some shopping. Taylor, Shena, Savana, and I (Audrey, your blogger) arrived later in the afternoon for the second pick-up. Larry drove us back to his house and we excitedly explored his beautiful house that was featured in Architectural Digest in January 2008. We relaxed by the pool for the rest of the afternoon and got to meet all the girls, as Sam was the last to arrive via ground transportation. 
That evening about twelve of Larry and Lorna's friends came over for a delicious pasta dinner. We got to meet some of the guests we would be playing with the next day. That evening we had our first team meeting where Larry distributed our team uniforms. 

DAY 01: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We all woke up pretty early and enjoyed a nice breakfast with Lorna, Larry's wife. Victoria, Sam, Savana, and Lea took a short walk around the neighborhood to see Kate Hudson and Steven Spielberg's houses while Emily, Taylor, Shena, Sara, and I rested at the house. Then it was time to leave for the golf course for our first tournament. Half of us went with Larry, while Sadie drove the other car. When arrived at Palos Verdes Golf Club we took a team picture on the putting green then got to work setting up for the tournament. Each team member checked in their playing partners and sold them mulligans. Then we had lunch and teed off in a shotgun start. The tournament format was a shamble, which means each group took the best drive and played out their individual balls from there. We counted two balls for a team gross and team net score. About half the people playing were from Larry's other golf club, Brentwood. We were the first official tournament to play the new Palos Verdes since it's been redone. Some of the holes offered spectacular views of the ocean. 
After we finished playing, we all gathered in the club house for a buffet dinner with our playing partners. We handed out awards to the winning teams. Sara's team won the low gross with a score of 136. Lea's team won the club member's gross. Taylor's team won the first net award and Shena's team came in second for low net. At the end of dinner, we all introduced ourselves and held a raffle for gifts from each of the our schools. For example, one of my playing partners won a Georgetown tee-shirt. With the money we got from selling mulligans and raffle tickets we raised about $4,000 for military Morale Welfare and Recreation. All in all it was a very successful tournament and start to our adventure!

DAY 02: Thursday, June 20, 2013

Today is the day we have all been waiting for: the day we get to leave the country for Japan! We packed up our bags and said goodbye to Lorna and the house and were on our way. The lowest six scores from the tournament yesterday got to ride in a limo to the airport. Sadie came in first at 70 and Taylor, Shena, Sara, Victoria, and myself joined her in the limo while Sam, Savana, Lea, and Emily rode in another car to the airport. We checked in for our Japan Air flight and got through security with no problems. After eating lunch at the terminal, we texted our last goodbyes to family and friends and were up in the air flying across the Pacific Ocean to Japan.

DAY 03: Friday, June 21, 2013

Somewhere in the air over the Pacific Thursday turned into Friday while we were sleeping and watching movies on the plane. We landed at the Narita Airport late Friday afternoon and took a two-hour bus to Camp Zama, a U.S. Army Garrison. We were all pretty exhausted from the long trip and were ready for bed by the time we arrived at Camp Zama. 
Larry gave us all assignments for the trip: Sadie is the M/C for team intros at each event, Shena is in charge of protocol and culture, Emily is the team members gift coordinator, Sara makes roommate assignments, Victoria heads airport check-in, Taylor is our sergeant at arms, Savana is the team outfit coordinator, Sam is the raffle coordinator, Lea is the schedule coordinator, Larry is in charge of sponsor communications, and I am your blogger. 

DAY 04: Saturday, June 22, 2013

This morning we woke up and took a bus from the Army base over to the U.S. Naval Air Facility at Atsugi for our first tournament overseas. We had breakfast and met our groups on the putting green for a few pictures with the NCAA All-Star banner before heading off in our carts to our starting holes. We played a scramble skins game, so each group had one score for each hole against the field. The NAF Atsugi Golf Club was a flat course with subtle greens and perfect for a scramble format. I even got a view of Mt. Fuji early on in the day beyond the mountains in the distance but the clouds covered it for the remainder of the morning. Since it was raining during the drive to Camp Zama yesterday, we were thankful for good weather.
After our rounds we headed into the clubhouse for lunch and the tournament raffle. This time we sold raffle tickets for the chance to win a free round trip for two people to Los Angeles next year to play in the tournament we played in yesterday. Taylor and Sadie's groups won the skins games with birdies on #9 and #18, two holes that no other groups birdied. 
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. 
Once back on the base, we had free time all evening. Most of us freshened up, Skyped our family and friends, and relaxed at the hotel while Shena took advantage of our access to the gym. We all met up later to explore the base, visiting the Exchange and eating dinner at the sports pub. Shena and I also went off base to meet up with her friend from Yokohama while the rest of the girls had a movie night. We had some authentic Japanese food and then walked around the grocery store and drugstore, taking in all the different Japanese products. Everyone was ready to go to bed early since we are feeling the effects of jetlag. 

DAY 05: Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today we played golf at the U.S. Army Camp Zama Golf Club, which is a short walk from where we are staying. We played with people associated with the military and Camp Zama. The course was beautiful, but very hilly, and we were happy to be riding in carts instead of walking. Everyone played their own ball but there was a big skins game for money. Some of our playing partners payed for us to play in the skins game. Sadie won one skin and $72, while Sara was the big victor, winning two skins and $144. Larry shot 78, with even par on the back nine, so it was a good showing for the All-Stars.
This afternoon we went sightseeing in Tokyo! We took a two hour train ride into the city to the Asakusa shrine. We visited the shopping stalls right outside the shrine where they sold anything from fans to freshly baked sweets. Next Larry took us to Ginza, which is a brightly lit, high end shopping area where we ate ramen for dinner. We stopped in the department store to look at hundred dollar melons and expensive kobe beef. We arrived safely back to Camp Zama after another long train ride and were so worn out we decided to nix laundry and head straight to bed.

DAY 06: Monday, June 24, 2013

For those of us who didn't play the way we wanted to yesterday we got another chance today since we played Camp Zama Golf Club again. It was nice not playing a course blind. Larry's friends Kataoka and Momose have been hosts of this tournament for many years, and call it the Friendship Cup. We were paired with their Japanese friends and played a best ball. There was a four way tie for first place at 2-under between Emily, Sara, Lea (and Larry), and Taylor's groups. Emily won the rock-paper-scissors contest for the first place medal and had the lowest individual score at even par.
After golf was the real excitement: we got to go shoot guns at a military simulation center. We shot pistols, machine guns, M16 rifles, grenade launchers, and rocket launchers. There were ten stations next to one another so each girl was placed behind a sand bag shooting at a simulation screen. After each round, we saw a replay of our shots and how accurate we were and then switched positions to try different guns. This was a rare opportunity that not many people get to do so we felt pretty lucky. 

DAY 07: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This morning we got to sleep in! Which was difficult because it gets light at around 4 am here. Today we got a day off golf and went sightseeing in Kamakura, a city with a beachside view. Sara was our leader as we navigated the JR, the Japanese metro system. Upon arrival to Kamakura, we got some exercise on the mile and a half walk to the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu). The Buddha was built in the mid 1200s and some of us went inside to see how they cast the bronze and put it together. This was a popular site for field trips as there were many class photos of children taken in front of the Buddha while we were there. We browsed around the town, picking up some souvenirs as well as getting some ice cream: most of the girls got a mix of sweet potato and green tea which was very refreshing in the sticky weather. After that, Lea, Taylor, Shena, and Sadie found their way home on the metro while the rest of us stayed for some more sightseeing.
Sam, Savana, Emily, Sara, Victoria, and I visited the Hasadera Temple, one of the holy places in the Kanto area. We walked up a path to find a view of the beach and were surrounded by the 28 varieties of hydrangeas they have. All the flowers were beautiful and we all concurred it was a site worth visiting. We even got to walk through a cave! Upon our return to Camp Zama, some of the girls worked out and played basketball and then we went to go find dinner. I tried the conveyor belt sushi which was a fun experience and we even got Lea, who had never had sushi before, to try some.  

DAY 08: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ever since we arrived in Japan we have been told that this is Japan's rainy season. Today we found out what that means. We took a 2 hour bus ride from Camp Zama to Nakayama Country Club. This is a very nice club with a reputation of good food and good golf. We had female caddies who wore uniforms and pushed motorized carts that fit all four bags in our group. This was a fun experience, since most of us don't get the luxury of having caddies when we golf. 
It started raining before we teed off and didn't stop until we were on the bus ride home. We played 'Japanese style' golf--where you play 9 holes and go inside the clubhouse for lunch and then go back out to play another 9. The course was in excellent condition and many holes had two greens. Since we didn't have rain gear, we were thoroughly drenched by the end of the round. After we finished playing golf, we changed into our nice clothes for the banquet, which Momose and Kataoka organized with lots of gifts for our playing partners. 

DAY 09: Thursday, June 27, 2013

We left Camp Zama to drive 6 hours into the mountains to Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. We stopped twice along the way and got lunch at a rest stop. When we arrived at Sugadaira Green Golf we were introduced to Mr. Sakamoto, the President of Sugadaira. After we settled into our rooms a short walk from the course, we were free to walk around and explore. Savanna, Sadie, Taylor, Lea, Emily, and Victoria went out to play a couple holes of golf while Sara, Shena, and I hit balls. They only cut the range twice a year to retrieve the balls so we didn't stay for long. When wandering around we saw dry ski slopes cut into the mountain.
The NCAA All-Star team from last year had visited Sugadaira as well, so some of us recognized our teammates on the posters put up in the clubhouse. They even had a big "Welcome NCAA All Star Golf Team" sign in the entrance to the clubhouse surrounded by the Japanese and American flags. That night we had a welcome dinner with our hosts at Sugadaira. We were disappointed to find out there was no wifi so we amused ourselves playing charades back in the hotel.

DAY 10: Friday, June 28, 2013

Sugadaira Green is the golf course at the highest altitude in Japan which which left us with nice and cool temperatures and a beautiful view of the mountains. Before we teed off, a woman playing in the event gave us each a bag of Japanese candy. We shared them with one another and have lots of sweets for the long bus rides now. We played our own ball with Japanese playing partners. Most of them didn't speak much English so it was a bit difficult to communicate at times but we used a lot of body language and got along well with everyone. We played Japanese style golf, stopping at the turn for lunch with our group and then got tea and cake after the round.
That evening we had a buffet banquet with a mix of American and Japanese food. All the guests were invited to speak and many welcomed us and congratulated our good play earlier today. We were each presented a bottle of water to symbolize the fresh mountain water, a traditional Japanese cake filled with red bean and water chestnut, and pins given by the Mayor of Suzaka, who was in attendance and gave a speech himself. Sara received a pink flowered kimono as a gift for shooting the low round of the day; 1 under. She looked beautiful and many of the guests asked to have their picture taken with her. We all felt very grateful to receive such a warm welcome to Japan and meet such friendly people as everyone wished us success in our future endeavors. After the banquet, Yohei, Mr. Sakamoto's son, who helped out with the tournament every year as a translator played charades with us back at the hotel. 

DAY 11: Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today we played Japanese style golf at Sugadaira again, except twice as many people signed up to play with us so we switched groups at the turn, playing the out course twice. Lea and Sara tied for the low round of the day with 72. After getting tea and cake with our playing partners after the round we packed up our belongings. We got Japanese fans, candy, and headcovers as gifts before we left. Then we said our thank you's and goodbyes and were on our way back to the Narita Airport. We stopped for dinner along the way and got to the hotel by the airport around 9. We were all thankful to have wifi tonight and took the opportunity to catch up on email and Skype friends and family. Tonight is our last night in Japan!

DAY 12: Sunday, June 30, 2013

This morning we had an early wakeup call to meet in the hotel lobby at 5:45. We took a bus to the airport and arrived at Korean Air first in line with our carts full of baggage, eagerly waiting for them to open. Everyone was nervous about having excess baggage fees because we were only allowed to check one bag up to 50 pounds free and we had heard the girls last year had to pay extra. Sara and I were fine because we brought carry ons but most people had two bags. We gave the people at check in tee shirts from our tour and miraculously we were allowed to check all our bags, free of any additional fees. We "scored a home run" according to Larry. As it turns out, tee shirts go a long way.
We used up the rest of our Japanese yen coins in the airport since we couldn't convert them and said goodbye to Japan. As sad as we were to leave, we are excited for the next part of the adventure. We wrote our thank you notes for our hosts and sponsors in Japan on the plane and some of us even had time to start a movie. When we got through customs, we exchanged our yen for won and met Cho, who took us on a richly decorated bus to the Crown Hotel in Itaewon.
Since our flight was so early we had the whole afternoon to buzz around. The first thing we noted about Korea is the temperature; it is hot. Not just hot, but humid, especially coming from the fresh mountain air in Japan. Larry took us on the subway to Dongdaemun, with me as the chief navigator. Once there, we split up to shop around department stores and street markets then met up to return to Itaewon. Itaewon is a Western influenced part of Seoul, so there is quite a variety of food and everyone could find something to their liking. 

DAY 13: Monday, July 1, 2013

It's July! Since we played the majority of our tournaments in Japan, we have more free time in Korea and Hong Kong. Today we had another free day which meant: more shopping. Larry showed us several places we could buy gifts for our friends and family in Itaewon. Many of the girls bought handbags as well. Victoria, Sara, Sam, Savana, Emily, Lea and I took the subway back to Dongdaemun while Shena, Sadie, and Taylor cruised around Itaewon. Many of the girls did hand wash in the sink because we were spoiled at Camp Zama with free laundry in the hotel.

DAY 14: Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today was an unexpected surprise. We were supposed to meet in the lobby at 11 to go play Namboo, the most prestigious country club in Korea but plans changed. It was raining all morning so too many of the sponsors cancelled and the course couldn't hold that much water. We were all pretty disappointed about not getting to see the course. Instead, Henry Oh treated us to Korean barbeque for lunch in Gangnam, the Beverly Hills of Korea. We got a private room at a really nice restaurant and had great kalbi, Korean beef. Afterwards, we were treated to dessert and coffee at Corso Como by Henry Oh's friend. 

DAY 15: Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today was a bit of an oddity. Henry Oh could only get two tee times at Namboo Country Club so Sam, Taylor, Sara, and I went to play golf. It was a beautiful course and a fun day to play with each other. The other girls went to Grace Park’s family’s restaurant for lunch. After, we had some free time where some people went back out to do shopping, napped, or hung out at the hotel. That evening we went to a Korean barbecue restaurant for dinner hosted by Henry Oh. After so many free days, we are looking forward to playing golf tomorrow, especially since we get to play in a four ball made up of two sponsors and two NCAA girls.           

DAY 16: Thursday, July 4, 2013

        To our friends and family back home: happy 4th of July! We are spending the Fourth in Korea. Today we played the U-Light Tournament at Namseoul Country Club? hosted by Mr. Yoo. In Korea they use meters instead of yards on the golf course, which was a little confusing for most of us save Sara. Luckily most of us had range finders or could convert to yards. We also had caddies who helped us with yardage. The most amazing thing was that the golf carts drive themselves along the cart path. This innovation has yet to make it to America. In Korean style golf you stop every 5 holes to get a drink and a snack. These breaks are a nice reprieve from the humidity but they make for a long round of golf.

It started raining as well as thundering and lightening as we were on our 15th hole. With that accompanied by the impending darkness, we decided to call it quits and go inside and shower for the banquet. We had an 8 course Korean meal of excellent quality. Mr. Hur gave all the girls a rain skirt which is a more practical than rain pants when playing in the humidity. Sadie won the tournament with an individual prize, but everyone got medals for participating. Our first tournament in Korea set the standard high for Korean golf.

DAY 17: Friday, July 5, 2013

Today is our final round of golf in Korea. Mr. Kim picked us up in a bus from our hotel and we drove to Lakeside Country Club, not too far from the city. This time we were back to playing with one NCAA girl in every group. There are 54 holes here we were surrounded by trees and a great view. We got lunch and dinner at the golf course. Sara and Lea tied for the lowest round but Sara won in a scorecard playoff. Savanna’s team won the best ball.

For our last night in Korea, Mr. Kim took us to go to karaoke. Everyone got the chance to sing up on the stage, and we all eagerly jumped right into singing old American hits. Larry even sang a song! It was a lot of fun and a good cultural experience.  

DAY 18: Saturday, July 5, 2013

We met in the lobby this morning and packed our boxes to be sent home. We departed at 6 am for a Korean barbecue breakfast, a longtime tradition for the team. We hopped on a Korean Air flight to Hong Kong. The view from the plane when flying in was outstanding; we saw the islands and clear blue water took an immediate liking to Hong Kong. We took a bus from the airport to the hotel and Larry walked us to the laundry so we could wash our clothes. Those who hadn’t exchanged won in Korea went with Larry to get Hong Kong dollars. It started raining so we found dinner in local restaurants. We were all exhausted from the early wakeup call so we took a nap to rest for the trip ahead of us. That evening we met Rachel, who rows for Boston University and knows Larry. We made quick friends and she was our generous local tour guide for Hong Kong.

DAY 19: Sunday, July 7, 2013

            This morning we took a bus along a winding road with a great view of the beaches to Deep Water Bay. We ate lunch in Stanley at Larry’s favorite place to get wonton noodle soup. Afterwards, we split up to do some shopping in Stanley Market. Then we bussed back to the hotel and had time for a little nap before dinner. We went to Aberdeen to meet Po, one of our sponsors, and his family. We took a yacht out to Llama Island to eat fresh seafood, which was an incredible experience. On the boat ride out there we passed all the fishing boats which was a sight to behold. On the way back, we saw the Hong Kong skyline lit up from the water.

DAY 20: Monday, July 8, 2013

         Our playing partners picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the Hong Kong Golf Club for our first round of golf here in the YPO tournament. . We had a delicious breakfast at the club and then teed off on the Old Course (they have 3 courses). My playing partner described the course as “short but quirky”. We wore our black shirts because we had a little mishap with the laundry and our white shirts weren’t in good condition. It seems to be even more humid in Hong Kong while playing golf than I remember it being in Korea. We went through a lot of water and sunscreen to say the least.

That evening one of my playing partners, Sidney, treated us to dinner at the Hong Kong Club. We got all dressed up and ate an 8 course meal in an intimate private room surrounded with artwork on the walls. Sara, Emily, and Savanna had the three lowest scores so got to keep the menus printed for the event.

DAY 21: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

            This morning we took the ferry over to Discovery Bay for the Julius Bär executive tournament. The fairways were a little wet from rain but it was a resort type course with a great view of the water and the city. We are all very used to using chopsticks by now but Larry has pointed out the differences between the countries we’ve been to: in Japan they use wooden chopsticks, in Korea metal, and in Hong Kong plastic ones. We all seem to like Chinese food here a lot. Victoria, Lea, Sadie, Emily, Sara, Savanna, Sam, and I took the Star Ferry to see the light show, which is every night at 8:00. It’s called the Symphony in Lights and all the skyscrapers in Hong Kong have lights that change according to the music played. Afterwards, Lea and Victoria went to visit the Mormon Temple and shopping at the Night Market while the rest of us headed home on the subway.

DAY 22: Wednesday, July 10, 2013

            Today was our free day since our tournament got switched from today to tomorrow. Lea, Victoria, and I took a ferry to Macau and went to the last horse race at the Hong Kong Jockey Club of the season. Sara, Emily, Sam, Savanna, Taylor, Sadie, and Shena went out on Rachel’s boat where they got to Jet Ski and wakeboard. Emily and Sara walked around Causeway Bay later in the evening.

DAY 23: Thursday, July 11, 2013

         This is our last round of golf on the trip! We played a best ball stableford? game with the ladies out at Hong Kong Golf Club. Victoria knew one of the girls from a golf camp she had attended years prior. We also got to play with Tiffany Chan, the top amateur in Hong Kong. We played the Old Course again, but from different tees which was fun.
After lunch, one of the hosts, Sharon, took Lea, Savanna, Sadie, Sara, Victoria, and I shopping in Central, where we picked up any last minute gifts we needed for friends and family. That night Savanna, Sam, Victoria, Emily, Sara, Taylor, Shena, and I met up with Rachel for dinner and said our goodbyes. Then we packed our bags. We are all in a bit of shock that this trip has gone by so quickly and can’t believe that this is our last day here. Hong Kong has for the most part been our favorite place; the city is easy to get around, there is a lot of English spoken here, and it’s close to the water. Some girls can even envision living here in the future.

DAY 24: Friday, July 12, 2013

         Today is it: the day we leave Asia. I know most people weren’t feeling ready to leave earlier in the week but now that the day is finally upon us I think we are all excited to see our families and sleep in our own beds. We met up in the lobby one last time and took the bus to the airport, getting one last tour through Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong airport is really nice with plenty of shops and restaurant, where “you can do some serious damage with your Visa even before you get to the gate” according to Larry. This is where the goodbyes started: Shena departed for Koreaso we were only 9 plus Larry boarding our Cathay Pacific flight to LA. We had two meals on the plane and occupied ourselves with movies, sleep, and writing our than you’s.
Once we arrived in LA people started going their own ways. Sara got stuck in a long immigration line for non-US residents and I had to jet to catch a flight (that ended up being delayed). I’m sitting in the airport writing this right now while eating American food for my nowvery long layover. I know a lot of the girls have later flights as well but Sara definitely has it worst since she is now flying to Europe, making it halfway around the world for a long day of travel.
I know everyone was sad to say goodbye to our new friends and Larry, our forever wise chaperone. We all loved spending that last few weeks together and bonding over our experiences. I think I can speak for everyone in thanking Larry for all the hard work he put into making this trip happen and to the sponsors for hosting us and providing warm welcomes to each country. We have shared good food, great company, wonderful golf, and seen amazing sites together. While I still can’t believe it’s over, this has been the experience of a lifetime and I know I will keep the memories I have made here with me forever. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this trip, I will look back on my time in Asia fondly. 








 

Website Builder