Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sage Senior Advice from Dom Francks

An Open Letter to the Stanford Golf Class of 2020

            In the midst of my last campaign as a Stanford golfer, I thought I’d use my status as a washed-up, crusty old veteran to dispense some advice that you boys may or may not want to hear:
            -First off, make sure you do some work in the gym before you show up in September. It pays to be able to hold your own on the VersaClimber right off the bat (just ask Tank), and Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be a lot more fun if you know your way around a weight room.
            -Take it easy in the classroom your first quarter. Some of the best advice I got early in my freshman year was to “treat getting used to Stanford like a 4-unit class”. There’ll be plenty of time to load up on units or take Math 51. Spend your fall quarter making friends and sharpening your game.
            -Treat each tournament (and qualifying) like it’s Q-School. If you do the math (which I didn’t my freshman year), you’ll only have about 50 opportunities to compete for the Cardinal during your stint. Make the most of them.

            A lesson that I’ve only recently learned is the importance of reminding yourself daily of the overarching goal: to win a national championship. During your time at Stanford, you’ll meet absolutely incredible people. You’ll have friends who will head off to fantastic summer internships, and friends who’ll be spending nearly every waking hour studying and working to excel in the classroom. It’s very easy to feel like you need to compete with them. Resist that urge. Remember what you’re here to do, and don’t get distracted. You have an opportunity that very few have, and I wish I had realized the importance of that opportunity earlier in my career. You have the privilege of being a part of one of the best programs in college golf, and the best athletic program in the country. Remember that every day.

            As Coach Ray is fond of saying, “Stanford Golf is like a train. You get on, and then after four years, you get off. It’s up to you what mark you’ll leave in those four years.” Well boys, my time on the train is almost up. And I’m rooting for you. You’ll know me as I knew guys like David Chung and Steve Ziegler, as a face remembered vaguely from recruiting visits. You’ll hear stories about me, and as a freshman you’ll laugh along with the rest of the team, even though you don’t get the inside joke. You’ll see me at alumni matches and occasionally lurking around before football games, and you’ll be unsure whether I recognize you or know your names.
I do.
            Go get ‘em boys.

-Dominick Francks

Monday, April 25, 2016

Boote Being Boote

Trying new things…

So my fellow senior, Dominick Francks, is the definition of an outdoorsy, adventure man. You only have to peer through his Facebook or bring up mountains in Washington for you to realize this fact. This past November he decided to take first-timers, former teammate Patrick Grimes and myself up the mountains in order for us to experience nature, spectacular views as well as pre-maid packaged food and artic temperatures for ourselves! It was a very memorable trip and over the next few minutes while you read this blog I’ll show you some of my best memories from this trip.

Our goal was to hike up the Yosemite Falls Trail and then camp overnight before hiking back down the next morning. As you can see I was perhaps a little over-excited at the start before realizing the difficulty of the 3.5 km hike straight up Yosemite Falls! 

Despite the difficulty, it was a beautiful hike which took us around 2.5 hours to complete. Along the way we saw some amazing sights, one of which being the waterfall itself! Perhaps the craziest part of the trip was the group of French extreme climbers camping on a ledge next to the top of the falls and tight roping across the top everyday 4/5 times!
As you can see to the left, spirits were still high halfway up the mountain – Grimes must have been checking his sore wrist at this moment!

And finally... We made it!  Here we are having a spot of lunch on top of Yosemite Peak, with an amazing view across to the Sierra Mountains in the distance.  

We pitched our tent, collected firewood and slept through the night in temperatures that went down to the mid 20s (Fahrenheit), but that wasn’t before we saw something fly across the sky, which certainly caught our eyes in an alarming way!

A trident missile test off the coast of California performed by the US Navy was the apparent cause, although I still have my suspicions!

Finally here are my feet, alongside a spectacular view with Half Dome out in the distance, in a pic I took post breakfast and pre-nap on top of the world the next morning.
All in all, it was a great way to spend some of my offseason time trying something different and new to me. Thanks to Dom for showing Patrick and me the ropes!
I would highly recommend anyone thinking of going camping for the first time to give it a go, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would love to do it again sometime!

By David Boote

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where's Mav? He's on a plane!

I landed in San Francisco at 9:30am after a 14 hour flight from Sydney, Australia on December 21st… But I had departed Sydney at 4pm on the 21st. Sitting at the gate awaiting my final flight of 2015 to Palm Springs, I wondered exactly how much distance I had covered this year. I traveled outside North America for the first two times of my life, played a full college and amateur schedule, tested the waters on the PGA Tour, and spent only a handful of days at home. Thus prompted this blog post… A review of 2015 as seen from 30,000 feet!

Just for fun, I went back on every flight I had made (including connections) this calendar year, and totaled the number of miles covered on each leg of the journey. For those interested, I also included a quick explanation for why I found myself in this particular part of the world. So here goes:

SF->Hawaii->SF = 4,700 miles
First tournament of 2015, the Amer Ari at the Waikoloa Kings Course in Hawaii. Someone has to do it, I guess…

SF->Palm Springs, CA->SF = 900 miles
Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, CA. If I recall correctly, our team shot a half-decent 20 under final round here. Made the trip back very nice!

SF->Cabo San Lucas->SF = 3,000 miles
Querencia Cabo Collegiate. Continuing the trend of tournament destinations that make all of our dorm-mates jealous.

SF->Palm Springs, CA->SF = 900 miles
Easter weekend and some golf with the family in La Quinta…

SF->Pullman, WA->SF = 1,700 miles
Pac12 Championships at Palouse Ridge, Washington State’s course. A few good memories here… Yeah maybe more than a few.

SF->Charlotte, NC->Dallas/Fort Worth->SF = 5,200 miles
NCAA Regionals in at UNC Finley GC, followed by a stop in Fort Worth, TX for the Ben Hogan Award ceremony at Colonial CC. Picked up a W and a berth at Nationals at UNC, and a top-3 finish at the Hogan Award!

SF->Bradenton, FL->Atlanta, GA->SF = 5,600 miles
NCAA Nationals at the Concession Club in Bradenton, FL. Can we re-do day 1??

SJ->Phoenix, AZ->Columbus, OH->Chicago, IL->SF = 4,900  miles
Two birds with one stone here… I moved my US Open Sectional qualifying to the Columbus, OH site so that I could do that and attend the Jack Nicklaus Award ceremony at Murifield Village GC. The field was stacked with PGA Tour pros- I played one group in front of David Lingmerth, fresh off his victory at the Memorial the day previous!

SF->Chicago, IL->Kansas City, MO->San Diego, CA->SF = 4,600 miles
Palmer Cup at Rich Harvest Farms just outside Chicago. We made an unplanned landing in Kansas City, as our intended flight path was blocked by thunderstorms in the Midwest.

SF->Washington, DC-Greenbrier, WV->Washington, DC->SF = 5,800 miles
The Greenbrier Classic at Old White TPC. The Greenbrier Resort really felt like an oasis in the middle of nowhere… Because it kind of was! Not easy to get to.

SF->Atlanta, GA->SF = 4,600 miles
PGA Tour Barbasol Championship at RTJ Golf Trail in Opelika, AL. This doesn’t include the hour and a half taxi ride to Opelika from Atlanta…

SF->Portland, OR->Eugene, OR->Seattle, WA->SF = 1,700 miles
Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at Eugene CC (sound familiar? Site of the 2016 NCAA National Championship! Strategic planning.) with my teammate Viraat Badhwar.

SF->Chicago, IL->SF = 4,100 miles
US Amateur at Olympia Fields CC just outside Chicago. I’m starting to like this place… Starring the Daddy-Caddy!

SF->Pittsburgh, PA->Chicago, IL->SF = 5,000 miles
Walker Cup Practice Session in Latrobe, PA.. Home of the great Arnold Palmer. One of my fondest memories was drinking an AP sitting across the table from the real AP…

SF->New York, NY->Manchester, England->New York, NY->Chicago, IL->SF = 12,200 miles
Walker Cup and Fighting Illini Invitational. Started with a tour of the NYSE and 9/11 Memorial in New York, followed by the most incredible golf experience of my life at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club. Then flew straight to Chicago to meet my Stanford team for the first college event of the year at OFCC. It’s official, I like that golf course.

SF->Portland, OR->SF = 1,200 miles
Pumpkin Ridge for the Nike Collegiate Invitational… And a tour of Nike World Headquarters as well!

SF->Atlanta, GA->SF = 4,600 miles
Alpharetta, GA for the US Collegiate Championship at the GC of Georgia. Somehow backed myself into a win here…

SF->San Diego, CA->SF = 1,000 miles
The Gifford Collegiate Championship at La Costa Resort. Make it back-to-back-back-in wins!

SF->Palm Springs, CA->SF = 800 miles
Some more sunny, 36-hole golf days with the family in La Quinta for Thanksgiving break.

SJ->LA->Brisbane, Australia->Cairns, Australia->Sydney, Australia->SF->Palm Springs, CA = 17,800 miles
This was a trip to visit my teammate Viraat Badhwar in Australia; we began in his hometown of Brisbane (and I got to witness the course where V honed his buttery little draw… Not a left-to-right hole on the property!), visited Cairns for a day to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, and ended in Sydney and a spectacular round at New South Wales GC. Then I met my family back in the desert for some more 36 hole days over Christmas and New Years.

Add those all up, and you get:

4 countries
14 states
58 flights
90,300 miles (the Earth’s circumference is approximately 25,000 miles, so this year’s flying was the equivalent of flying around the world nearly four times…)

*note- this blog post was, in fact, written on an airplane…

by Maverick McNealy

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Viraat's Vivacious Recap

As we begin our spring season, this is a good time to reflect on our Fall Tournament results. Our team ended the fall season ranked 5th and we saw a lot of great golf from the guys.

We have one of the deepest teams in the nation this year and I believe that any five out of our ten guys can play against and beat most teams we compete against. Our freshmen have done a great job adjusting to college life and are contributing a lot to our team already. As a result, we have had some of the most competitive qualifiers this fall, which prepared the resulting traveling squad very well for the tournaments.

We started our fall at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invite at Olympia Fields CC in Chicago. Mav flew straight to the tournament from the Walker Cup in England, where he represented the US in a 2 day match against Great Britain and Ireland. The team played really solid all week and finished 4th in one of the most competitive fields of the year. Mav went on to win the tournament individually for the 2nd time in a row after a low 65 in the 2nd round.

Our next event was the Swoosh Invitational at Pumpkin Ridge GC in Oregon. It was the first tournament for one of our freshmen, Brandon Wu. The whole team had some great contributions the entire week and we finished 4th once again. Individually, Mav was the highest finisher at T-5 and David finished T-19.

We had a quick turnaround to prepare for the US Collegiate, at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, GA. The team was in the mix for the first two days, but a tough last day meant we finished the week in 6th. We learned a lot from the week about and sealing the deal when we are in contention down the line in the Spring. A last day 67 helped Mav tie for his 2nd win of the season and his 8th win in 2 seasons.

We finished of the fall at The Gifford Collegiate at La Costa Legends GC in Carlsbad, CA hosted by UCLA. Freshman Isaiah Salinda made his debut in San Diego and had a solid week to help the team to a 2nd place finish. We were in contention for the majority of the week, but a great last round by Washington meant we finished just short of the mark. Mav finished with another last day 67 to tie for his 3rd win of the season out of 4 events. David added another solid tournament to his fall with a T-5 finish.

by Viraat Badhwar 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sophomore Secrets from Swegs

So far my time at Stanford has been an amazing experience. I have been able to expand my horizons by taking interesting (and challenging) classes, ranging from math to computer science to international relations, all with an excellent faculty. I have had the unique opportunity to interact with countless students who managed to get into one of the most sought after universities in the world, as well as some graduates whose ideas and determination have helped change the world. And on top of that, I’ve managed to improve my golf game drastically, going from not making a single start my entire freshman fall to teeing it up at the National Championship last spring. But as a freshman, I was, as Coach Ray likes to say, “drinking from the fire hose.” Classes, golf, practice, workouts—it all flew by. Now as a sophomore (who thinks he knows what he’s doing) I have my feet under me a little bit more, and I’ve had some time to reflect on what I’ve learned the last year and a half:

--Don’t challenge Dom to a game of basketball. Or a game of any sport whose name ends in the word “ball”. Or the versa climber. Or a political debate. He will win.

--If you want to have the best-prepared breakfast possible at a college golf event, track down the kitchen staff and tell them you have a dairy allergy. You will be taken care of. (Thanks to senior David Boote for leading by example here.)

--If you go out to team dinner and don’t know what to order, have what V (Viraat Badhwar) is having. It will be the best thing on the menu.

--If you don’t know where Mav is, he’s probably at Siebel practicing.

--If you hear a country song on the radio, Brad knows its name. And the band name. And when the song was written. And when the band formed. And potentially even the age of the lead singer.

--Don’t judge a book by its cover. He might not look it, but Tank can put away food like you cannot believe. Legend has it that he single handedly put an “All you can eat sushi” restaurant out of business.

--Don’t challenge Brandon and Isaiah to a team competition if they get to be on the same team. (Mav and V found this one out the hard way).

--Sit next to Chris in Econ lecture. If you get bored with the lecturer, his twitter feed can be a nice distraction.

by Jeffrey Swegle 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sophomore Bradley Knox is "Stealing Your Fitness." Here's How...

The Art of Stealing Fitness

A zero sum game is a scenario in which one person gains something and as a result another person loses an equivalent value. Popular zero sum games include poker, and other forms of gambling, but since we as NCAA athletes are prohibited from most forms of gambling, we have to fulfill our desire for ruthless competition in different ways. Often, we choose fitness.

Fitness is not widely considered to be a zero sum game, because if I am working out, how can that negatively impact anyone else? Here’s how: Take an arbitrary value for the average level of fitness in the world, say 30. The more fit you are, the higher your fitness value is. Say senior David Boote has a fitness value of 43, and I have a fitness value of 30. If Boote works out, he will gain 1 fitness point, therefore raising the average value of fitness in the world to 30.1, and his personal fitness value to 44. If you do some simple arithmetic, you will find that Boote’s fitness level relative to the rest of the world (call this value y) changed from +13 to +13.9 giving him a delta (D) of .9. However, everyone else in this theoretical world will have a D equal to -0.1, due simply to the fact that Boote took the initiative to do a little bit of cardio on a Sunday morning. In other words, Boote stole our fitness.

Now that we have explored the mathematics and theory of a zero sum game in a theoretical world, we must look at how we, as a Stanford Golf program, have implemented this knowledge in order to enable us to make the marginal gains that separate those who win from those who don’t. As a Stanford golfer, I field many questions about my daily routine, including where we travel and how I am playing, but when we come to our fitness schedule other students seem perplexed: “Why do you guys work out?…it’s golf”, “What do you need cardio for?”, “But you guys only do flexibility, right?”. Every yard off the tee and degree of flexibility, as well as the absence of exhaustion on the back nine of a 36 hole, 12 hour day can make the difference between a good score or simply a good effort. This all begins in the weight room, where we take pride…in stealing your fitness.

by Bradley Knox