Western Carolina redshirt senior men's golfer Kyle Wilson recaps the Catamounts' trip to play in the St. Mary's Invitational in Seaside, Calif.
Blog Entry #1:
At 22, I have been fortunate enough to play college golf for the last ... million years, it feels like. In that millennium, I have had the chance to play some of the best courses against some of the best competition in Division I. To say that I am grateful for this opportunity would be a severe understatement.
I always dreamed of being a college golfer and felt like I worked hard to get to where I am today. The opportunity to play golf at Western Carolina and going to all of these incredible places has really been a monumental part of my life. Seeing all the intriguing landscapes and new cities makes a guy think deeply about where he wants to live and what he wants to do with his life.
I haven't seen much that could replace being in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2010 and seeing wild horses run free across the desert at sunset. Or the memory of seeing a huge storm blow up from miles away on Kiawah Island that same year.
But I digress; in two days I will be boarding a plane to California. This will be my first trip to the true West Coast. The point of all this description is that in a time in history where so much is given and so little is appreciated, I'd be remiss if I didn't count myself as a "one per-center."
How often can people say they have been given the opportunity to travel with free room and board to play a sport they have dedicated their life to? It is hard for me to contain my excitement about the journey and the time I get to spend with my teammates in such an awesome place. I am sure anyone who reads this has their own personification of what California is to them, whether they have been there or not.
I look forward to soaking in every second of what will undoubtedly be a life changing, sensory overload of a journey.
Blog Entry #2:
Greetings from the left coast! Although I am a novice traveler, I definitely enjoyed the journey yesterday. I saw the inside of two new airports (haha) LAX in Los Angeles, Calif., and San Jose. It is always cool to spend a little time noticing the differences in the people, brands and designs that characterize the different regions of this great country of ours.
Flying into Los Angeles I got to see The Coliseum and Staples Center, and took in a little of Venice Beach on the way up the coast to San Jose. Unfortunately, today I didn't spot any celebrities - just a phenomenal Moe's and the most expensive McDonald's this North Carolinian has ever seen ($8.95 for a Big Mac meal??)
There was also a digital wind chime in the San Jose airport. It literally changed lighted panels on its own inside the airport to give the look of wind moving. Pretty cool stuff.
Also, I read the entire "Payne Stewart Story" while in the Atlanta airport and on the flight to Los Angeles. Not completely sure why I chose to grab that book as I bolted out of the apartment on Friday, but I am definitely glad I did. Payne was always my dad's favorite golfer while I was growing up and I had always known a little about him. The long and short of the book was an outside perspective on Payne's journey as a man and champion golfer. It really struck me in a few spots, just thinking about how one of the most underrated golfers of all time struggled with the same things many of the rest of us do.
The book ended with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that would make anyone stop and think:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Blog Entry #3
Well, our week in California was a success. Our team goal had been to come out here and finish fifth-or-better. Although we finished sixth overall, the team fought through adversity and we will move up in the next Golfweek/Golfstat ranking because of the quality of the eight teams we beat this week. We bested Kansas State by 17 shots.
It was fun to see sophomore J.T. Poston bring the Black Horse Golf Club to its knees with a 66 on Monday in the last few hours of day light. It was equally as enjoyable to shoot a hard-fought 69 in the final round and help the team (and my confidence) climb.
Earlier this evening we traveled up the 17 mile drive to Cypress Point, Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and finally made our way to Pebble Beach. After watching two US Opens and countless AT&T Pro Ams, it was unreal to walk out onto the course where legends have been made. It was the end of a storybook day for yours truly.
As a golfer, nothing feels better than breaking 70 and then visiting a famous championship venue. I think we all felt like kids in a candy store as we walked out near the 18th green of Pebble Beach. Oh, and we saw Tom Clancy at Spyglass Hill (yes, that Tom Clancy).