Tuesday, February 6, 2018

David Snyder - Top 5's and Top 10's

In the spirit of the new year, I thought it would be fun to generate a few “Top 10” and “Top 5” lists. From my top golf courses to my favorite LP’s, the lists will provide some insight into the life of a student-athlete at Stanford University in 2018 and a little about the things I enjoy.  

Top 5 courses we play as Stanford golfers:

To start off, I’d like to rank the courses I’ve had the great fortune of being able to play with my teammates in qualifying. We don’t always play a qualifier among our own team to determine the top 3 to 6 players that will travel to every tournament, but when we do, we will usually play a series of courses over a period of a week or two. For ranking these courses, I considered the quality of the course architecture (including the views!) and the usual condition of the course.Outside of our Stanford University home course, here are the others I really like:

1. Cal Club - unreal bunkering that reminds me of Royal Melbourne
2. Olympic Club (Lake Course)
3. CordeValle - the course is on a great piece of property and the greens get an A for design
4. San Francisco Golf Club
5. Lake Merced

Top 10 places to eat as a college student:

Is it just me or are restaurants hard to rank in a specific order? I struggled because as I wrote this, a plate of Texas BBQ sounded particularly good! If you’re visiting Palo Alto, you shouldn’t be led astray if you go to any of the places on this list (they also won’t take any nasty bites out of your wallet). I also avoided including any chain restaurants. I mainly considered the quality of the food at each restaurant, but I also considered the atmosphere and ambiance.

1. Sweetgreen - this place will challenge the best salad you’ve ever had
2. Armadillo Willy’s BBQ
3. NOLA Restaurant & Bar - vibrant ambiance
4. Bare Bowls
5. The Willows Market
6. Lulu’s at Town & Country Village - can’t go wrong with a burrito
7. Steam
8. Aroy Thai Bistro
9. Sprout Cafe
10. Jeffrey’s Hamburgers - has the diner vibe and sells great milkshakes

Top 5 dessert places in Palo Alto:

1. Pressed Juicery - the frozen juice is just like the texture of frozen yogurt and even better!
2. Tin Pot
3. Cream - the cookies are even better than the ice cream
4. Scoop
5. Yogurtland

Top 10 LP’s:

I’ll change the pace here a little and talk about some 33’s. I’ve always loved music and sharing music with people, after all, that’s how I’ve been introduced to my favorite stuff. Since last year, I’ve been getting into vinyl records and many people have helped my collection grow. Here are my favorites so far. I considered the entire collection of songs as opposed to just the hits when ranking these records. Of course the epic album artwork of Stairway to Heaven and Days of Future Passed carried some weight!

1. Hotel California by The Eagles
2. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
3. Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues
4. The Stranger by Billy Joel
5. Rumors by Fleetwood Mac
6. Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. Innocent Man by Billy Joel
8. Eagles by The Eagles
9. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
10. Back in Black by AC/DC

Top 5 places to study on Stanford campus:

As much as I wish I could play golf, listen to music, and eat all day, I must admit I am also a student at Stanford. So, I’d like to share where most of the magic happens. Stanford’s campus is massive and there are literally thousands of places to sit down and do work, but only a small few are practical on a day to day basis and only a couple are worth going out of the way to get work done.

1. My dorm room in Kimball Hall
2. Law School Terrace - the vines and fountains make it a great scene
3. In a hammock at Terman Fountain - some work can be done in a hammock, trust me
4. Green Library (Lane Reading Room) - the definition of quiet
5. The Stanford Varsity Golf Clubhouse - my second home on campus

Top 5 classes I’ve taken at Stanford:

The single most important thing I do here at Stanford is take classes (I had to say this in case my dad sees this blog). I’ve tried my best to select classes that I will personally value and ones that will advance my pre-law track. Although pre-law is not a specific track like Pre Med, it is important to take classes that are rigorous and prepare students for the kind of writing and research work of Law School. For ranking my classes, I considered everything from quality of the professor (a very important metric) to the amount I enjoyed the work content of the course.

1. Introduction to American Law (AMSTUD 179)
2. Public Speaking: Romancing the Room (ORALCOMM 118)
3. The Romans (HISTORY 102A)
4. The Changing Face of War: Introduction to Military History (HISTORY 103F)
5. Introduction to Music Theory (MUSIC 19A)

Top 10 smartphone applications:

Since Stanford is in Silicon Valley, I might be in trouble if I didn’t have a list of something pertaining to tech. In the year and a half I’ve been at Stanford I’ve been introduced to many new helpful smartphone applications that make things easier. To rank these apps I thought about which ones I couldn’t live without...so there is no list….just kidding. Although I could live without all of these apps, they help my efficiency. If you haven’t heard of any of these apps I highly recommend looking them up and seeing of you could benefit from using them in some way - I know I have!

1. DoorDash - get food delivered from virtually any nearby restaurant in under an hour
2. InstaCart - restock the fridge without having to shop at the store
3. SnapChat - communicate easily with friends
4. Venmo - no cash?...split the check with friends using your debit card funds
5. Moment - track the amount of time you spend on your phone daily
6. Parkmobile - pay for on campus parking on the go
7. Yelp - find the best restaurants in town
8. Tile - if you lose your keys, find them through bluetooth
9. Google Maps - never get lost...hopefully
10. SeatGeek - find all the concerts in town and buy and receive tickets immediately

Top 10 photos I’ve taken while at Stanford:

Stanford, the places our team travels, and the Bay Area in general are full of places to snap great photos. I hope to convey some of what is fun and beautiful about life at Stanford. The particular order of the following photos is not as significant as the previous rankings.


- My teammates might laugh if they see that I chose a sunset photo as the first one on the list, but it’s true, I do love sunsets. I took this photo after a long practice at our awesome practice facility on campus called the Siebel. One of the best views on the property is looking over the hills as the sun falls through the clouds.  


- One of the perks of having a brilliant group of students around you on campus is that many of them play instruments really really well. This is a photo of our Stanford Symphony Orchestra as they prepare to start a piece by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 5 in E minor.


- This is Arastradero Biking trail just 10 minutes drive up the road from campus. It’s a relatively tame trail and a wonderful workout for a sunny day. When my sister was a visiting student at Stanford over the summer, we biked this trail multiple times.


- This is Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, in the middle of singing of their hit song, Hymn for the Weekend. During fall quarter, I went to this concert with my old teammate Viraat Badhwar who graduated in 2017. The Bay Area is host to concerts by the best musicians in the world so I always keep a lookout for tours. Next up is Justin Timberlake in April - I hope I can find a way to make it to that one!


- Rarely do we button up as a team, but some of us did for the Cardinal Classic dinner that we have every year in the Spring. It’s an event held for the benefit of the Women’s and Men’s Stanford Golf programs and last year Condoleezza Rice was a special guest speaker along with George Shultz. (From Left to Right: Chris Meyers, Isaiah Salinda, Franklin Huang, Jeff Swegle, Brandon Wu, Henry Shimp, Bradley Knox, Me, Viraat Badhwar)


- Some may not be able to pinpoint exactly where this is on campus because this area is usually completely dry. Last winter we had so much rain that Lake Lag actually filled up completely. The lake was directly behind my freshman dorm, Roble Hall, and was a beautiful place to sit on bench during the months it was full.


- Although we do have plenty of palm trees at Stanford, these particular ones find their home on the Big Island in Hawaii where I played my first college tournament, the Amer Ari Invitational. As usual, the weather was fantastic that week and the team camaraderie was a blast.


- Fall does actually exist at sunny Stanford! This is a view of Roble Hall last year as the sun hit the colorful leaves of the trees out front. Bikes are seen everywhere on campus, as they are the primary mode of transportation for students.


- One of the most beautiful spots on campus is Meyer Green and the fountain right next to it. If it’s a sunny day and the weekend, you’ll often see young kids playing in the fountain (as a couple are in the photo). I took this photo from inside Green Library where I study on occasion. During finals week, the whole entire paved area you see in this photo is covered with bikes due to all the students who are hunkering down in the library.


- I thought I’d wrap up this blog post with a photo of the Pacific Ocean from the par 3 course called the Cliffs at Olympic Club. We practiced here for an afternoon last year in preparation for our tournament in Hawaii. There are few experiences better than playing at Olympic Club, on a warm sunny day, with your teammates who are all playing well and excited for a trip to Hawaii.

That’s it for now! Until next time, GO CARD!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nate Menon- Trust The Process

I should probably start with a little bit about myself.  I’m a perfectionist.  I like to have control.  I like to plan.  Everything I did in regard to golf in the past year was focused on the goal of contributing to the team when I arrived on campus.  I planned my entire 2017 schedule so that I would be peaking in September, and I was.  Then I injured my calf three days before the team reported for preseason practices, and my entire plan was thrown out the window. 

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about for this post, so I started with the best source of inspiration I could think of, The Truth.  I read Ashwin’s recent blog post (it’s a must read by the way), and realized that despite being in the same position as incoming freshmen, we had significantly different first quarters.  While the team was competing against Army in the Bush Cup, I was back on campus with our team trainer getting treatment on my calf.  Instead of lifting during workouts, I was doing physical therapy exercises. During practices and qualifying, I was sitting on the metaphorical sideline that doesn’t exist in golf.  I’ll be honest, it was frustrating.  I was around the team, but my physical limitations made it difficult to feel like I was contributing, and it weighed on me mentally. 

So, I trusted the process.  I couldn’t control the fact that I was unable to play golf, but I could control how I reacted to a difficult situation.  I did everything I could from a rehabilitation perspective so that I could be back playing as soon as possible, and I tried to focus on the positives.  I had great teammates, great coaches, and the Eagles were winning (and still are.  Nick Foles is taking us to the Super Bowl.  Don’t @ me.).  I realized that I wasn’t going to have the fall season I had envisioned for the past two years since I committed to Stanford, but that didn’t have to be a bad thing.  If anything, it made me appreciate Stanford even more.

For starters, the weather is absolutely unreal.  From when I arrived on campus to winter break, it rained once.  Yes, once.  I don’t think I checked the weather past the middle of September once I realized it was going to be somewhere from 65 to 75 degrees and sunny every day.  That’s not exactly what I’m used to coming from Pennsylvania.

Despite how great the weather is, it is the people you meet and interact with every day that makes Stanford unique.  I quickly realized that there’s a reason why the acceptance rate was 4.65% last year.  Stanford students are special.  I’ve met Olympic gold medalists, published writers, Heisman finalists (the voting is rigged), and the list goes on and on.  Just in our freshman dorm, we have multiple national champions, a PAC-12 freshman of the year and first team All-American, founders of successful businesses, public figures, and probably more than a few other future millionaires.  Over our three-week winter break, I had a friend attend a U.S. soccer national team camp, a friend who studied in Israel, and a friend who did this:

Like I said, pretty special.

I’ve learned that every student at Stanford has a reason why they are here, because they are capable of doing great things.  I really feel like that’s true of our team this year.  Some have written us off after graduating two incredible seniors in Viraat and Mav, but having been on the sideline, I’ve seen how hard our guys have been working, and I think we’re poised to have a special spring season.

As for me, my calf is starting to feel better, and hopefully I’ll be back playing soon.  Until then, I guess I’ll just have to keep trusting the process.

Go Card!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ashwin Arasu Blog Post Fall 2017

Blog Post Fall 2017

Well, I guess I’m The Truth.    
First day on campus, Dakota must 've done this.

There may or may not be some cool story behind the nickname, but by our first team meeting in September, I was already accustomed to the boys calling me Truth. It is definitely a name that needs living up to. I’ll take it.

Those first couple weeks in preseason were a blast. We were lucky enough to stay on the third floor of the brand-new Meier Hall. School hadn’t officially started, which meant no class, no late-night studying, and (as I have now come to appreciate) no  irksome coding assignments. Our days were simple. We played golf together. We ate together. We hung out together. It was a great way to bond with the team and get acclimated to life on campus.

During that time, we had the honor of playing against the Army golf team in the Bush Cup. The friendly match took place at Olympic Club, and was a great opportunity to be around some of the most dedicated, loyal, and honorable individuals, who have made it their life to serve our country. We spent a whole day with them, from breakfast to 36 holes of competition to dinner, and learned a lot. Hearing about the rigors of training and life at West Point, from college kids like us, put things in perspective.  I’m not sure if the hours and hours we spend studying and practicing at Stanford can be compared to the mental and physical intensity that the cadets put themselves through.  This is a reminder that can help push us to push ourselves.  Having even half the level of dedication and discipline as them can get us a long way.  Moreover, it is a reminder that helps us appreciate those who serve our country even more.  
The 18th hole at Olympic Club during the Bush Cup.
Then, school started and we got deeper into our fall season.  In many aspects, life on the Farm became more and more routine.  I had class to go to, every weekday. Workouts came twice a week, every week.  And driving to qualifying rounds meant the team van would be filled with country music, every time.  But routine doesn’t mean boring and it doesn’t get old (even the country music).  I believe that the team understands that reaching a high level in anything, whether it’s golf or school, means doing the little things, everyday.  Knowing this and knowing that our time at Stanford is short makes every class, every workout, every opportunity to practice at Siebel, every qualifying round that much more important.  My first quarter feels like it went by too fast. 
“Big grey” (our team van) took us to some beautiful spots so far! In clockwise order, qualifying at TPC Harding Park, Cal Club, and Halfmoon Bay.

Above, Tiger Woods and Casey Martin at dinner. Below, we traveled in style.
My favorite memory so far was my first college  event, the Nike tournament in Oregon.  We played at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club,which has hosted many prestigious events, like the US Amateur and US Women’s Open. We got to visit and tour Nike’s world headquarters.  At the Nike dinner, we got to witness some great conversation and hear some hilarious stories between four Stanford teammates: our very own Coach Ray, Notah Begay, Oregon Coach Casey Martin, and the Big Cat himself,  Tiger Woods.  

The most exciting part for me was getting to compete against one of the strongest fields in college golf.  I learned a lot about my game.  In the second round, Coach Ray walked with me my whole round. Like clockwork, before every approach shot I was given the yardage to the front of the green. I took from that experience that it takes a system of planning and mindfulness to pick apart a golf course.  I don’t need to be a hero and go for every shot to score my best.  

The event was also important for us, especially after coming in 11th place in Illinois. Early in the year we talked about how we might be underrated, how we might lack the star power of previous years, but also how we still have one of the deepest teams out there.  It came down to the last few holes in Oregon, and we didn’t get the win, but it still was a great confidence boost. We have the resources at Stanford, in our facilities and Coaches, to prepare at the highest level.  We have great group of guys that have the talent and the work ethic to take this team far this year.  We have the potential to achieve great things.

I only have one quarter on the Farm under my belt, but it’s clear to me that this place and these people are really, really special! Go Card!

— Ashwin

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2 Quarters as a Stanford Golfer: What I’ve Learned

With our second of three quarters drawing to a close I find it to be a good time to reflect a bit on some of the experiences I have had thus far as a Stanford golfer and student. There have been many highs, a considerable number of lows, and everything in between. All things considered, it’s been a fantastic six months. We have an awesome team of hardworking, dedicated student athletes who are determined to have success in the coming months. Pair that with two fantastic coaches and I see great opportunity for our program. But before spring quarter is upon us, let me revisit some of my fall and winter quarter experiences.

Here are eleven things I’ve learned, witnessed, experienced, and done in my short tenure on the farm:

 1. Ride with Caution: Stanford students are extremely bright; however, I’ve found there to be an indirect correlation between intellectual horsepower and bike riding competence which makes riding to class in large groups of people rather treacherous. Ride accordingly. Unfortunately, I (my right wrist) learned this one the hard way.

2. To Be or Not To Be: “Who’s that guy?” A question that Coach Ray often challenges us with in team meetings. “That guy” can be the one who stays late to get in extra work after practice, finds time for additional workouts, or identifies himself as the strongest player on the team. Conversely, he can be the one who never seems to be seen practicing at Siebel (our practice facility) on the weekends, shows up last to every team gathering, or doesn’t respond promptly to important team texts and emails. Whether he is someone you want to be or don’t want to be is indefinite; however, the coaches will certainly be keeping tabs on the matter. You should too.

3. Where’s Waldo?: Being from North Carolina, my favorite thing to do other than play golf is hunt, so naturally there are a few pieces of camouflage clothing that made my college wardrobe. While I typically wear camo with the intention of blending into my environment, I can guarantee you that I do not blend in on Stanford’s campus. Not even in the slightest.

4. Rain Rain Go Away: Have you ever been told that it “doesn’t rain” at Stanford? It’s a lie.

5. Top Courses: By my count we have played 10 top 100 courses in the world depending on which rankings you look at. I have been told before that it typically takes about 5 years to play all 100, so with 10 down in the past six months we seem to be pretty well on pace.

6. Hot Start: Being a freshman, our Scotland trip was my first experience with and introduction to the Stanford Golf Program. Not a bad way to kick off my four years here. We played 10 incredible courses, stayed in amazing places, had a great group of Stanford golf supporters and friends come along with us, and most importantly had an absolute blast. Cheers to Connoisseur Golf for being fantastic trip hosts.

7. Stick to Your Guns: It is wise to take classes in subjects you are familiar with and that won’t be excessively difficult in your first quarter at Stanford. Your GPA, golf game, and self-esteem will thank you. Choose the right ones and fall quarter will be great, choose the wrong ones and you may be in for a ride. There is certainly an academic adjustment period for freshman learning how to operate on a college academic format. Balancing that with trying to get your feet wet as a college golfer can be a formidable challenge if you end up with a surprise class or two that happens to be an excessive workload or just plain hard. Fellow freshman Dakota McNealy and I experienced this in taking Petroleum Engineering and Computer Science, respectively.

8. A Who’s Who of Handshakes: One of the things that makes our program so neat is the people that surround it. Whether it be PGA Tour players, notable businessmen, or famous television personalities, always dress appropriately and keep a clean haircut, because you never know who might be hanging around.

9. Come Hungry, Leave Happy: Thanks to a 2014 change in NCAA policy driven by UConn men’s basketball’s Shabazz Napier, we are now allowed to be fed as many snacks as possible. Consequently, the Stanford Varsity Golf Clubhouse is always stocked with all sorts of snacks and drinks to be eaten whenever we need them. As a group of 19-21-year-old college boys, you can imagine that this is a resource that is fully taken advantage of every day. If you ever see a yogurt parfait in the refrigerator don’t be hesitant to act quickly because it won’t be there in 5 minutes.

10. Switch it up: While we have pretty solid dining hall food at Stanford relative to many other colleges, it is, and will always be, college dining hall food. That being said, it is critical to not eat at the same one for every meal. Most of the dining halls have some sort of theme, for example my dining hall, Wilbur, is Asian themed. Stern, just across the street, is Mexican themed, so there are different options. I typically try to never eat at the same one for consecutive meals. There are 7 or 8 of them in total so it is not too hard to keep yourself happy by not eating the same few meals over and over.
11. Four Leaf Clovers, Horseshoes, and the number 7: All things considered, we as Stanford golfers have a pretty incredible college golf experience that is advantageous for nothing but success both on and off the golf course. We are all extremely fortunate to be in the position we are in and have the opportunities we have as Stanford golfers. This is something none of us take for granted and use as daily motivation to work hard to continue to breed the success that this program is built on.

 Thank you all for reading and for being supporters of Stanford Men’s Golf.

 Go Cardinal, Henry Shimp