INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- The memories keep accumulating for the Butler women's golf team. Two months after winning the Horizon League Women's Golf Championship and making Butler's first appearance in the NCAA Women's Golf Tournament, the Bulldogs embarked on a trip to Scotland that provided another lifetime experience.
Butler head coach Bill Mattingly and the women's golf squad left Indianapolis on June 24 for a foreign training trip, which is allowed every four years under NCAA rules. On the initial flight to Frankfort, Germany, the Bulldogs were accompanied by the USA U19 men's basketball team, which was heading to Latvia to compete in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. Included on that U.S. squad was Butler forward Khyle Marshall, heading to his first international competition.
On arrival in Germany, the Butler golfers had time to spend exploring Frankfurt during a five-hour layover. Then it was back on the plane for a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, where the team stayed at Edinburgh University's Masson House. The schedule for the next two days was visiting the sites in Edinburgh during the mornings and then playing golf in the afternoon. After a round at the famous North Berwick West Course on Sunday, June 26, the team had a chance to play a round against outside competition at Musselburgh Golf Club on Monday, June 27.
The round on the championship course at Musselburgh was played against a team of women's club members. The host members proved to be worthy opponents and captured the four-ball, better ball format, 3 to 1. The club members then hosted the Butler team and travel group for dinner that evening.
The next day, the team packed up and moved to New Hall on the St. Andrew's campus. The new residence was located about 250 yards from the famous Road Hole (#17) on the Old Course. Over the next two days, all eight Butler golfers were able to secure a tee time for a round on St. Andrew's Old Course.
Junior Clare Cornelius secured her time on the course by getting in line at 3:45 a.m., to wait for one of the coveted spots. Horizon League Player of the Year Michele Nash, Molly Fields and Julia Porter finished their Old Course round at 10:30 p.m. Marcy Moreman, Ali Arends, Ali Restaino and Lauren Patishall each were able to complete a round on the course as well. Each of the players were given an education in course history from their caddies and playing partners.
When not waiting for a tee time, the players had a chance to visit many of the St. Andrew's historic sites. They also had a chance to explore the student hangouts in the evening. The Dunvegan Hotel proved to be a popular choice for meals.
From St. Andrew's, the Bulldogs headed to Carnoustie for a round on the championship course, which will be the site of this summer's Women's British Open. In addition to menacing bunkers and difficult greens, the Butler crew had a chance to experience the variety Scottish weather, with rain showers and a bit of hail mixed in to increase the course challenge.
The final round of the trip was played at the spectacular Kingsbarns Golf Club. The course, with several seaside holes, is the site of the Dunhill Classic in October and is consistently rated as one of the best and most scenic in Scotland.
When the Bulldogs boarded the plane for the return to the U.S., it was with the knowledge that their skills had been challenged and their appreciation for the game and its history had increased. The trip proved to be more than a training exercise; it was an educational experience and the source of life-long memories.
"Everything about the trip to Scotland was incredible. The courses, the scenery, the food (sticky toffee pudding), the exploration, and the company. I couldn't have asked for anything more... except maybe more time. And getting up at 3 a.m. for a chance to play the Old Course was definitely worth it. That will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life." --Clare Cornelius.
"It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The time spent with my teammates and coaches and playing St. Andrew's are memories that will last forever." --Michele Nash.