Most college students remember life as a freshman being stressful, yet fulfilling. You deal with new responsibilities such as new classes, a higher workload in school, living on your own for the first time and other things that embody the “typical college experience.”
Now, take these issues and ask yourself one question: “Could I do all of that and play a Division I sport in various places across the world?”
Players on the Oklahoma State Women’s golf team have to do this every other week.
From Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, the team was in Orlando, Florida, for the UCF Challenge. The team played well, finishing fourth overall with four different Cowgirls recording career-low scores.
Career-best days aside, the most impressive thing that the players did was an off-course accomplishment: they went from Stillwater to Orlando, back to Stillwater until finally ending up in Puerto Rico for the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. This was all done in a five day period. Oh, and after that, they obviously fly right back to Stillwater for school. Totaled together, that’s about 6,580.16 miles of travel in eight days.
Even the strongest-willed people would struggle to adapt to a schedule like this.
Cowgirl golf coach Greg Robertson said that while the travel is hard, it’s the adjustment to the combination of the three that his players struggle with the most.
“I don’t know that the travel is so much an issue,” Robertson said. “The adjustment is the school and the golf and the travel combined. They’re all international, or you know, most of them are international. They’ve all played international schedule. They travel all over the world, so they’re used to that part. It’s just the balance of the golf and school and practice and everything else they have going on in their lives and in college.”
Despite this gruesome schedule, the team continues to play at a high level. They’re currently in first place at the Puerto Rico tournament and they’re No. 15 in the country, according to golfstat.com.
One theory as to why the Cowgirls are succeeding despite having a difficult schedule is the mindsets of the players. Freshman Hailey Jones, who’s currently tied for third in Puerto Rico, views these tournaments as an opportunity to experience new things.
“I’m excited,” Jones said. “I’m excited to get in really warm weather and I think it’s like, it’s by the beach so I’ve never really been that close to a beach before so I’m really excited. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico so I’m really, I’m excited.”
Like Jones, Lianna Bailey, who’s currently T-6 in Puerto Rico, looks at these tournaments as a means to see the world - all while wearing sunscreen - of course.
“Well, I’ve been told to pack a lot of sunscreen because I literally am an out of bounds post, my legs are so white,” Bailey said. “It’s going to be fun. I don’t see places like Puerto Rico or anywhere here very often. We went to Hawaii so that was cool. I’m excited.”