Sunday, May 12, 2019

"The Last Ride" by seniors Isaiah Salinda and Brandon Wu

Golf is a fickle game with seemingly more lows than highs. Many people say it is the true test of character. This season has been a testament to that statement.

We came off a great summer of golf ready to start our senior campaigns and lead our new, young team. Playing the toughest fall schedule in the country on some very difficult courses (Olympia Fields, Colonial, Muirfield Village, and Golf Club of Georgia), our season got off to a rocky start with our best team finish being 8th halfway through the season and our ranking dropping outside the top 40. Coach Ray and Coach Bortis talk a lot about trusting the process and controlling what we can control, and that we did. They pushed us and the whole team extremely hard in the offseason through 7 AM practices and workouts. This forced us to reflect on what we need to do better, both as players and captains. Our team was brought closer together and motivated for the spring season. Instead of being demoralized and caught up in the results, we stayed patient, hungry, and determined to turn the season around. We knew we were better than we were playing, and if we kept doing things the right way it would only be a matter of time until we started to “click” as a unit (shoutout to our favorite Marine Matt Bortis aka “The Unit”).
The patience and perseverance paid off. The Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas was a key turning point for us. Brandon led the way with a 3rd place finish and we finished 3rd as team in a very strong field. With this newly found confidence, we defended our home turf at Stanford and won again at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo (with each of us picking up our first individual collegiate titles in the process). The good vibes continued at the Pac 12 Championships in Eugene, where we triumphed over UCLA by 7 shots to complete the hat trick. Reflecting on it now, the battle scars and the struggles we went through as a team in the fall made these wins even more gratifying.

We stepped onto campus four years ago as na├»ve freshmen, “bright eyed and bushy tailed” as Coach Ray would say. Now as seasoned veterans, grateful for all the lessons learned along the way, we are excited as ever to represent the Cardinal one more time and proudly wear the “S” on our chests in our last post-season. We look forward to riding the momentum from this past month and ending our careers on a high note.

Go Card!
Isaiah Salinda and Brandon Wu
Brandon and Isaiah - click on image to enlarge

Friday, May 3, 2019

Rise: My first year at Stanford University

One of the most noticeable differences I have discerned between the other kids at my high school and myself was the disparity between the goals we pursued and the effort we put into our goals. There are only two people in the world I can attribute my work ethic I wake up with every day to: my mum and my dad. From a very young age, I was lucky enough to have incredibly supportive parents who got me hooked onto the game of golf and never failed to lend a helping hand whenever the textbooks got too heavy throughout my academic career. It is without a doubt that my mum and dad are definitely one of the biggest inspirations in my life. When I was younger, I slept in one morning instead of going to practice, and my dad told me something that I will never forget. "Freddie, if you're feeling tired and want to sleep in that's fine. But if you truly want to do something exceptional, then you can't back down. You need to get up and rise to the occasion.". I've carried those words around with me ever since and anytime that I've felt like pressing the snooze button on my phone or stay at home when it gets hot enough to cook an egg on the concrete outside, I remind myself of what my dad said and do my best to rise to the occasion. 

I had heard a myriad of stories before coming to Stanford and to say I was excited to start college was a vast understatement. You can imagine how motivated an aspiring amateur golfer can get, when they are headed to the very same university that Tiger Woods had gone to. Even when I said goodbye to my parents and boarded the airplane, I still couldn't fathom that I was going to become a Stanford Cardinal. I started dreaming about all the tournaments I would win, all the majors I could pursue, and the friends that I would make. However, after a few quarters here at Stanford I realized that my daydreams were a little ambitious. Reality had caught up to me, and I realized that college life wasn't going to be as simple as I thought. Even though I had settled into my new living complex, gotten used to the fifteen-hour time difference, and ingrained a map of campus into my memory, the relentless speed at which the quarters can go kept catching me off guard. One of the things I found tough was balancing my schedule here at Stanford. It was quite common for us to fly across the country while having a computer science assignment to do. However, the scary thing for me was having to accept the fact that it doesn't get any easier. New material will always be covered in classes you miss, p-sets get harder as the quarter goes on, and you still have to show up to the gym even if you have a midterm in the following hour. It really isn't easy, I've fallen behind many times over the last few quarters, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I haven't thought about handing in a sub-par assignment or sleeping in on the weekend instead of practicing, but those words my dad said to me still come to mind. Rise. 

It was a lot harder at first to push myself since I didn't have my mom and dad right behind me. But despite this, I do believe that it is essential to mention how well Stanford prepares you for the real world. This is where one of the most significant benefits of Stanford is highlighted: its plethora of support systems in place for the wellbeing of all students. Aside from the endless amount of tutoring we have access to, the vast variety of trainers for athletes, and some of if not the best practice facilities (for all sports) in the world at our disposal, one of the most important support systems that any student will interact with is the family that you will create here at Stanford. For me, everyone on the golf team became a large part of my new family. It was incredible to see how quickly we all got to know each other and how many memories we made and keep making. I remember the guys showing me around campus during my first week of university. One fond memory I have was learning about the fueling station that athletes have access to here at Stanford. Getting a free protein shake- that tastes absolutely amazing- as well as plenty of other delicious and healthy foods, is something I still look forward too. I remember the seniors laughing at the front of the van as all the freshman would scream out the words to 'Mo Bamba' on the way to a tournament. I remember the guys cracking hilarious jokes with the coaches on the driving range and thinking to myself, "this is where I belong."  Thus, it was in my new-found family where I gained the strength to keep pushing forward whenever times got rough. I found that my teammates and coaches would always be there willing to lend a helping hand, and no matter what happened, they would always want the absolute best for me. From going out of their way in the mornings by giving me lifts to workout, taking me out for brunch right before practice, helping me with classes and scheduling events, or even just merely giving me tips for my putting, my team is always there to help me be my very best. The freedom I have and the new responsibilities that I must handle are smaller facets of a larger journey where I believe I can truly discover myself and make a difference in this world. Although my teammates still have trouble understanding  my accent half the time,  deal with the fact that I am notorious for stealing their ball markers, and eat with the hunger of  ten adult men, they never miss an opportunity to be there with me in my highs or give me the tough love I need to pull me up from my lows. With the amazing support from my friends, coaches, and teammates that I have here at Stanford, the struggles I have and will face certainly become a lot less daunting. So, whenever I facetime my mum and dad I can happily say, I’m having so much fun at university and I’m rising to any, and every occasion. 

Go Card.

Fred Lee

Monday, January 7, 2019

My Freshmen Experience

Going into Stanford, I had the perfect vision of what my life here would be like. An entire childhood of Tiger fanaticism had obviously ingrained Stanford into my mind as the dream school. All my life I had been waiting for the moment when I would step on campus as a Cardinal and begin the best years of my life. Perfect weather, endless sun, world-famous professors, and, of course, the best practice facility that this country had to offer. I could barely wrap my mind around the fact that soon Siebel would be at my complete disposal.
However, I had also heard from others that life here wasn’t as peachy as it might appear from the outside. A part of me knew that my expectations of Stanford were perhaps a little too idealistic. So, from the time when the team moved into our first temporary living complex, I was waiting for some sort of catch. However, I can say now that the experience I received so far is better than anything I could have imagined.
Don’t get me wrong, the schedule is undoubtedly more intense than I expected. VersaClimber punishments for showing up only a couple minutes late to practice, desperately warming up my numb fingers at 6:30 AM, staying up late to turn in a problem set, then taking a quick nap before going to practice -- these new realities of life were tough at first, but each has made me a stronger individual.
One of the more interesting new aspects of my life here was getting enlisted into Camp Bortis. Every Friday morning, our deceptively amiable new assistant coach would drop his facade and put us through the most hellish workouts I ever had to go through. Though I would learn that the main point of the regimen wasn’t to strengthen our bodies, but our minds. The rules were simple for each session: you could quit at any time you want and you are not allowed to cheer each other on. After all, golf is an individual sport and when you are struggling in the middle of an important round, there is no one out there to help pick you up except yourself. One of our Friday workouts was a 5-mile run, something that I have never come even close to attempting before. But to my surprise, I not only completed the run but actually finished first (with one less shirt on me than I started with). What Coach gave us that day was an important lesson: we have a lot more in us than we think and “impossible” shouldn’t ever be in our minds.
But perhaps the biggest thing I had to learn for myself this quarter, is where golf and academics fall in my life. High school was undoubtedly a much simpler time. I would go to school, practice golf til sundown, do my homework, and then go to sleep. Now, every day comes a question of whether I want to get more work done on my computer science project or if I need to spend a couple extra hours working on my short game that day. It's a difficult dynamic to balance because at its core it asks me to decide what I find more significant to myself. Time will tell, but some of my recent finals are making a professional golf career look very appealing. I’ll let you know for sure when grades come out.
Of course, I can’t finish this without saying something about my new teammates. I feel that the guys here are like brothers that I never had and it’s perhaps the very best part of my Stanford experience. Despite annoying the team with unprompted karaoke sessions in the van, overenthusiasm during workouts, and jokes that apparently only I find funny, they’re still always on my side. They support me in my ups, help me in my downs, and give me some tough love when I need it. They’re always happy to share their knowledge and experience with me and it certainly makes life here less intimidating, as I was warned of just about every possible pitfall that I might face. So while the street cred that I acquired from getting into Stanford is certainly nice, it is these new connections that I formed that really make my life here amazing. My only hope is that I can make them last a lifetime.

Go Card!

-Daulet Tuleubayev

Monday, April 9, 2018

Brandon Wu - It's All Out of Love


Actually grips his putter like a hockey stick trying to be like his golf hero, Happy Gilmore. There is no doubt this kid crushes it in the weight room, as we’ve seen him do feats no one even thinks of. Strangely, he only eats burgers.


Sometimes on the golf course Henry will be seen lasering deer with his rangefinder instead of the pin as his southern instincts take over. Has occasional outbursts where he yells in Spanish, whether it be at his golf ball or himself. 


David is a walking encyclopedia, with an amazing ability to spit out facts on everything. Is often found jamming his Friday nights away on the piano, singing with his friends. He has been to every single restaurant in Palo Alto so if you ever need a restaurant recommendation, he’s your guy.


Our resident math major, anytime someone has a math question “Schwaegz” is more than happy to help. Actually ecstatic. If you’re ever discussing something with him, be sure to prepare some examples as there is no doubt he will be asking for them, maybe even a counter example. Spends all his free time watching anime cartoons. Loves Tokyo Police Club (its a band, I think)


Franklin, nicknamed “Tank” and “Meh” (his favorite phrase and response to everything), likes to keep things simple. Whether it be his golf game or life in general, he is running complex equations and programs in his head computing how to do each task with the least amount of energy. LOVES the versa climber, and you can read about his experiences with that in his blog.


Brad is a human Shazam when it comes to country music. Perhaps spends more time during workouts staring into the mirror than actually lifting weights, which is fine for him because he already hits it a country mile. Has unbelievable recall of rounds he’s had for he can tell you any shot he’s hit in the last decade, including all 10 on hole 18 at the Prestige his freshman year.


Has a fiery passion for hula dancing, as seen here when he performed in front of the tournament in Hawaii this year. “Practice makes perfect” does not apply to his ping pong game as the more he plays, the worse he gets. He has since retired from the sport, which has helped lower his blood pressure levels tremendously, as well as saved the lives of many ping pong paddles.


Meyers’ life revolves around sports for not only is he a crucial member of the golf team, but also a fierce supporter of Stanford’s women’s tennis and soccer teams. Has never shot over par on a desert golf course, perhaps due to his upbringing in Tucson. Is also the only person to ever double eagle 18 at Pebble Beach, capping a walk off win in the Nature Valley First Tee Open, an incredible feat.


Ashwin, nicknamed “The Truth” by Coach Ray, loves to watch Tiger swing videos on youtube. You may see some similarities in their swings, however, only if you look really closely. Does his homework in record pace, perhaps due to his knack for starting an hour before its due. 


This young freshman has undergone tremendous change during his short Stanford golf career. He came in as a die hard Cowboys fan but now is a bandwagon Eagles fan, claiming he’s from “Philly.” When asked about his favorite part about Stanford he did not hesitate to respond “Freshman Dorms.” He is a big fan of “Trusting the process.”


(Written by Isaiah) Aside from golf, Brandon “caveman” Wu has the rare ability to watch TV shows at an incredibly fast rate. This Netflix conciser once finished the entire Game of Thrones series is less than a week. Aside from TV, he spends a lot of time in the Product Realization Lab, or PRL for short. It is not as cool as it sounds.

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 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!