The Elon University golf teams became the most recent Phoenix teams to study abroad, following Elon’s quest to create better global citizens in its students.
According to Elonphoenix.com, the Elon athletics department “organizes and funds team global study courses, combining learning experiences with competition in countries around the world. Since 2011, Phoenix student-athletes have studied abroad in Europe, Asia and Central America.” Earlier this year, the football team traveled to Costa Rica while the tennis teams traveled to Hawaii.
The men and women’s golf teams followed suit when they traveled to Scotland over Thanksgiving break. The teams spent 10 days exploring and learning about the native culture and history of Scotland while visiting the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Stirling.
“The opportunity to study abroad as a student-athlete in Scotland was an experience that I will never forget,” said redshirt senior Robbie Seebold. “It was a surreal feeling to be able to walk in the same footsteps as some of golf’s greatest players. Hearing stories from some of my caddies made the moment even more special.”
The teams had the opportunity to play famous courses such as Dundonald Links in Troon — the host course of the 2017 Scottish Open – before heading north to Carnoustie Links – the site of next year’s British Open. The Phoenix teams finished the trip at Old and New Courses at the St. Andrews Links – the storied home of golf and where golf is said to have been invented.
“The first sight of the famed first tee and 18th green area at the Old Course had me in awe,” said graduate student and men’s golfer Charlie May in a blog post. “There is so much history to the Old Course with all the greatest golfers of all time walking its grounds. I truly felt like I was living out my dream ... I really tried to appreciate each step I took on its famed grounds and focused on enjoying the moment.”
While in Scotland, the golfers took the class “From St Andrews to Augusta: Scottish Golf and Culture Through Time,” studying the history of golf and its foundation in Scotland. During the trip, they exam studied the lifestyle of the Scottish people and how the national identity affects Scottish golf.
“It was a great experience to explore the Sterling and Edinburgh Castles,” Seebold said. “I was able to try some of the local foods and learn about the Scottish culture. The history of these old cities was incredible mainly because most of the old structures were perfectly preserved.”
The teams became the first Phoenix golf teams to study abroad since 2013. For men’s head coach Don Hill, who took the position in 2013 after the trip, this trip is something that will last in his mind, and in his photo albums, for quite some time.
“I didn’t even clean my shoes before I came home ... I wanted the dirt from St. Andrews to stay on there longer,” Hill said. “It was truly remarkable. College is about making memories and learning and growing up, and this trip pretty much encapsulates everything that you want for a team member to have.”
Hill said that having 10 straight days with his team was invaluable, and that it gave him insights into his players and allowed him to connect with them on a different level. For his players, the bonds they built between each other are now even stronger going into the spring season.
“The whole experience was even greater since I was able to travel with teammates,” Seebold said. “The trip brought us closer together and could lead to success in the future.”