Thursday, April 26, 2007

Good Times in McAllen

I couldn't resist sharing some of my comical happenings while I was in McAllen. I realize that some of these (ok, maybe all of them) will probably not be funny to any of you who were not present. That old "you probably had to be there" thing comes into play. Nonetheless, I thought I should still share my funnies with you!!

  • I volunteered for this week's junior clinic in McAllen. The Duramed Futures Tour holds one every week at each tournament site. It was approximately 96 degrees with the intense sun beating down on us. Mind you that this was after a 5 hour practice round and an hour of practice. I was given the task of teaching putting. My first group was about 10 kids around the ages of 6 or 7. No joke, after 2 minutes, they asked if they could sit down. Who am I to tell them that they can't sit? So, they sat. Now what? There are only so many things you can tell 6 year olds about putting without them actually performing the act. Imagine what our tournament rounds would be like if we could just stop and sit down whenever we felt like it.....Now there's a thought!!! I also should note that it's a little on the challenging side when a large portion of the kids you are attempting to teach do not understand English.
  • On Thursday there were 2 pro-ams (which I am not allowed to play in yet as a rookie) which meant that the course was closed. After a morning of practice at the course, my friend Kelley and I decided to have an afternoon of "girl stuff." This is turning out to be a bit of a tradition when we can't play a practice round on Thursdays. I guess you could call it a preparation day for Friday's round. Anyway, we were given coupons to receive a complimentary service of choice at the local beauty school. They were given to us at registration, and we figured that Thursday would be the perfect time. The comical part of this story is when we walk in only to find 4 Asian golfers, a golf mother, and Julie Wells, another girl from Oregon. As I sat there getting my pedicure, I observed the beauty school students (who didn't speak English very well, but attempted) trying to communicate with the Asian golfers, who spoke even less English. I found myself trying to translate what the other was trying to say...wait a minute...I don't speak Spanish or any other language for that matter. Was I kidding? Luckily, my student understood and spoke English. We had a very nice conversation, although I think she is still confused about the whole golfing tour, traveling around, my being from Oregon thing. We then went to a movie and we were the only two people in the theater. The movie was just released not even a week ago. We practically started gagging the minute we walked into the theater as the whole room smelled very strongly of mildew or must or mold or something. We had a good laugh about it, although at the end of the movie when we could still smell it, it wasn't so funny!! When I told the employee of the movie theater about the awful, nearly unbearable smell, she literally laughed at me, followed by an assurance that she would let her manager know. Yeah...and I'm going to fly to the moon tomorrow!!!
  • Each week we have many volunteers to make these tournaments possible. They kindly give up their time during the 3 day tournament and it is greatly appreciated by the players. Each group has a volunteer cart driver. The players who do not have caddies are allowed to put their bags on the cart (a cart caddy) and their other task is to keep score and they report our 3-hole scores to the live-scoring. Anyway, this week during one of my rounds I had an elderly guy (I'm guessing around 80-85) and he did a fabulous job. However, at one point, I was putting my club back in my bag and he sat back down on the cart and actually farted!!! I had to keep myself from laughing out loud, but if nothing else it lightened the mood for that hole!
  • After Sunday's round, my friend Kelley and I ventured to Progresso, the Mexican border town that is 15 minutes from McAllen. In my defense, we were going for a purpose. I was looking in the pharmacies for my special sunscreen (dermatologist recommended) and my Dad's gel for his shoulder. Much to the dismay of my parents and friends, we went and what an experience it was. First, did you know that they charge you to walk across the bridge? Yeah, it's a quarter to go into Mexico, and here's the real costs 30 cents to come back into the United States. Wait, you mean to tell me that I have to pay money, (not to mention 5 cents more than Mexico charges), just to come back into my own country? Wow!!! Well, it was a partially unsuccessful trip as I found out that they don't believe in Sunscreen in the pharmacies in the border towns of Mexico. You can buy Viagra by the case loads and you can have a filling done for $25, but you can't buy sunscreen. Interesting!!! I found my Dad's stuff and off we went, very thankful when we stepped back on U.S. soil. I found it amusing as we walked past a guy offering to shine our shoes. When he realized that we both had flip-flops on and would not require a shoe shining, he quickly offered a pedicure!!! Really, you can just switch and perform something like a pedicure that easily? HMMMMM!!!!!
  • And lastly, our trip ended with an adventure as we made the 12/13 hour drive today from McAllen to El Paso. As we entered San Antonio we were concerned we might be driving into a very large hurricane or tornado-ish storm. I can't express how black and scary looking it was. I hope to figure out how to get pictures on here soon...stay tuned!! Anyway, we were going 15 mph on the freeway, with everyone driving with their emergency flashers on as you could not see 3 feet in front of you. This lasted about 45 minutes. Yeah, and we still had about an 8 or 9 hour drive. Fun times, let me tell you!!!

I am in El Paso and am very ready for another fun filled week of golf on the Duramed Futures Tour. I am really enjoying myself and am especially excited this week as my Dad is coming in later in the week and will have the privilege (yes, privilege) of caddying for me. In addition, my college coach (and very best friend) is coming down to watch. I always enjoy having fans!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

You know you're in Mexico...I mean McAllen when...

As I made the 9 1/2 hour drive today from Lafayette to McAllen, TX I thought to myself that I should post a blog about the good, the bad, and the ugly about spending a whole day a week in your car. First, let me just say that I made it to McAllen, and although I've heard a lot about not expecting too much when we make our stop here, I knew I had to be getting close when I turned off the I-pod and switched to the radio. I am not exaggerating when I say that there were 4 stations that were in English!!! No really, this is not a joke! My host housing took me to a small Mexican restaurant tonight and again I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we were the only Americans in the place. So...that should give you an idea of where I am!

Now, some small, simple things you learn to be thankful for when you are in your car all day:
  • My satellite radio that I got for Christmas (To be honest, I wasn't sure what my Dad was thinking with this purchase. However, it turns out that it's great when you're in your car all day)
  • Phone calls every so often from my Dad. He's just checking on me and they only last 45 seconds, but it's the thought that counts. (He's really just a big softy if you don't already know it!)
  • People that call to chat and keep you busy because they know how boring it can be by yourself.
  • How nice it is when people actually use their cruise control and get in the right lane when they're not passing someone.
  • The small joy you get from a favorite song coming on the radio or I-pod.
  • How good it feels when you have to get out to use the restroom or fill up the tank and your legs actually get to stretch out and have blood pumped back into them.
  • The reassuring feeling you get when you pass one of the Futures Tour trucks along the freeway. This is a reminder that we are not the only ones shifting in our seats for 10 hours and also a good sign that you are actually on the right road going in the correct direction.
  • The quick laugh you get when you pick a random exit and go into a Subway only to find a group of 4 other golfers who chose that very same exit and Subway. What are the odds?
  • And finally, the great feeling of being "home" for the week. I say that with quotes because that is technically what it is. However, how much can a place feel like home when you are in and out in 6 days?!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Important Things

At a time when there are far bigger and more important things going on in the world, especially this week with the unfortunate events at Virginia Tech, and with an even closer, sad situation this week at my host housing, I am reminded again (it's been a constant lesson), that there are simply worse things than a missed shot, a missed putt, or a "less than perfect" round of golf. That will be my humbling thought this week as I tee it up in Lafayette, LA. I have goals and ambitions out here and each time I play a round I strive for as close to "perfection" as we golfers can get. However, in the big scheme of things, the big picture, golf just really isn't all that important. I have been watching the news reports and the interviews with students from VT and keep thinking to myself how bad that situation must have been for those people and for the families of the people in those particular buildings. We take too much for granted each day and I for one am just thankful for all that I am able to do in my life right now. As for my host housing, I feel like maybe we were put in this house for a reason bigger than either Nicole or I will ever understand. We are staying with a single lady who has her 24 year old daughter living with her as well as her 3 year old granddaughter from another daughter. She got custody of the little girl and last spring the girl's mother decided to move away to Florida with a boyfriend. Less than a year later, the girl's father (who had just turned 21) was killed in a car accident this New Year's morning (coming to pick up his daughter none the less). Every time she grabs her picture book of "Mackenzie and Dad" my heart literally aches for her. Luckily, she has her grandma in her life, but how sad that she only got 3 years with her Dad. The little girl is elated (understatement) that two "big sisters" are here this week and follows us everywhere. Yes, even to the bathroom. Being the way that I am with kids (I absolutely adore them), I have taken to her and jump on the trampoline with her, play dolls with her and whichever other activities she randomly decides to partake in. My point is just how much of a reminder this week has been for how thankful I should be. 60 or 90, cut or no cut, I am so grateful to be playing and striving so hard to reach my goals, and to be out here living the life of a professional golfer. So, next time you think something is rough for you or you're having a bad day, be thankful for the good, positive things that are in your life instead. Signing of in Lafayette, LA (P.S. remind me later if I am ever considering it that I really have no desire to ever move to Lousiana). My tee time tomorrow morning is 8:36 and the live-scoring should be available again at for those of you who are at your computers!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Moving on...

I write this as I am about to pack my car and move on to the next city, the next tournament, the next adventure. I am also writing this as a closure to this week and a beginning to another. In my frustrating, devastating, hellish, miserable round on Saturday, I found some humor and light on the course and choose to share that and the positive things rather than dwell on the negative. I found it a round of firsts for me, and for the Duramed Futures Tour I believe. It was the first time I had ever considered the possibility that I might run out of golf balls before I was able to finish. It was the first time I had ever considered that I actually might want to lose my last golf ball so that my name would have a DQ or a WD (Disqualified or withdrew) next to my name rather than the score that I was about to post. ( I learned from a girl I was playing with that her brother, also a professional golfer, once ran out of balls in a professional tournament...this made me feel just a little bit better for a moment) It was the first time that I had ever had to question a rules official standing by with about 5 holes to go what I was to do if I did lose my last golf ball. And as I explained to her that this was a first to me, she explained that it was in fact a first for them as a tour staff. I found humor in this and told her that I was glad I could be a first for them and that I didn't realize that I was so special. I didn't realize that a birdie on any hole, whether you are 4 under or 24 over, can put a huge smile on your face and make you want to keep going. I also didn't realize that I would ever be so proud of a 1 under finish in the last 4 holes. It was never such a relief to finish the last hole either. I had more mud on me when I completed that round than a little kid playing outside after a big rain storm. It was a long, ugly, cold, miserable, and forgettable day. However, I will take the positives with me, which were my last 4 holes, and the fact that I was still able to find humor in the situation and smile on the course, even when I was 20 something over par. I have decided that I would like to add another first to the Duramed Futures Tour. I doubt that there has ever been a player finish dead last and proceed to the next tournament to finish 1st. That is my mission this week and I am determined to make it happen. So, as I drive away from Frisco, Texas, I will leave behind in my rear view mirror some great memories, because I had some of the best housing hosts that a girl could ask for, and they even had a Bichon Frise (Peaches' kind). But, I will also leave behind the ugly shots, the ugly scores, and the ugly round!!!
On to Lafayette...where bigger and better things await!! (Maybe they need a new city slogan, that sounds pretty good)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Frisco, TX

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. We have been off for 3 weeks now. I got to spend some quality time at home and was able to attend a very close friend's wedding (Congrats Sara and Michael). We are in Frisco, Texas this week, playing at The Crossings at Frisco. We play our second practice round this afternoon, with the first round starting on Friday. I have an afternoon tee time, at 12:48. The weather is supposed to be anything but decent for the first round, but we'll just have to wait and see what comes our way. From here we travel to Lafayette, LA, and then on to McAllen and El Paso Texas.

I drove over from Albuquerque on Tuesday, after packing and organizing my car for the month that I will be living out of it. I feel like it should be really interesting to prepare for the 3 month trip that we have coming up. Let's just say that there's A LOT of stuff in there.

My profile has been updated on the duramed futures tour page, and they have put up my picture as well. I figured I would let you all know that, as some of you have been asking! The website will also have the live scoring available this week again. It's just as a reminder.

I'll be in touch after the tournament!