Pictured: Max Campion ’13 putts on the 16th at The Quarry
Faldo Golf Institute – Saturday, March
By Mark Pollak ‘12
After a long day of traveling on Friday, the team was anxious to get out on the range and reintroduce their clubs to bright and natural sunshine. In order to build on the workouts and indoor practice from the past couple of months, the team spent their first day of spring break at the Faldo Golf Institute. The complex features a large, open range with several chipping, pitching and putting areas. In addition, there is a special wedge range that specifically targets shots from 50 - 100 yards.
The balmy and sunny day proved an excellent warm up to the season, as the team was able to spend the entire day out on the range working on their games. Many team members were even able to get their first taste of competition in the form of highly contentious and entertaining putting and chipping contests between the men’s and women’s team members.
Black Diamond Ranch – Sunday, March
By Tony Grillo ‘12
On the second day of spring break, the Harvard Men’s Golf Team traveled to Black Diamond Ranch to play the beautiful Quarry Course. Known for its stunning views, the back nine includes fives holes that wind through an old quarry with dramatically changing elevations.
When the team arrived, they recognized right away that their first day of golf would present a challenge. Winds were sustained around twenty miles per hour, similar to the day before. As the team headed to the first tee, they were intrigued to see Champions Golf Tour star Jim Thorpe finishing up his front nine with a chip-in eagle en-route to a course record 63. The team split up into groups of three with a ladder format, in which each player plays a match against two of his teammates. It was a great way to get the season started off, with a friendly competition that kept all golfers focused.
By the time players had reached the quarry, the wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped. The changes in elevation made yardages deceptive. In the end, few managed to conquer the quarry. However, the experience was one that would be hard to repeat.
Thank you to our member host, Ed Westfall, and Head Golf Professional Lynn Janson for helping us to gain access to such a wonderful course. Staff and members were gracious. On the putting green, the team ran into a ’67 grad from Kirkland house whose face lit up when he heard that the Crimson would be spending the day playing at his club.
Lake Nona & The Golf Channel – Monday, March
By Danny Mayer ‘10
On Monday morning, the men’s team practiced and played at the renowned Lake Nona Golf Course, home to such star-studded PGA Tour professionals as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Trevor Immelman, Annika Sorenstam, and more. The Tavistock Cup, which pits Lake Nona’s professional golfers against those from Isleworth (including Tiger Woods, Stuart Appleby, Mark O’Meara, J.B. Holmes, etc.), is to be played on Monday, March 22nd and Tuesday, March 23rd at Isleworth. Despite the highly popular event in a week, there were no pro golfers in site as the team arrived at Lake Nona around mid-day. Justin Roseand a few Orlando Magic basketball players were rumored to be on the course.
After a couple of hours of practice on the well manicured range, pitching areas, and putting green, the team took what they had been working on to the course. The 7,200 yard, Tom Fazio design typified the Florida golfing experience, utilizing bunkers, water, and undulating greens to guard the holes. In addition to these defenses, the wind picked up with gusts of 40-50 mph at some points. Although the added element made for a tough day of scoring, the team definitely enjoyed their time at one of Florida’s most exclusive and nicest courses.
On behalf of the team, I’d like to extend our thanks to Scott Blanchard, the head professional out at Lake Nona, for hosting us there (especially a week before the Tavistock Cup).
Immediately following the round at Lake Nona, we drove to the Golf Channel headquarters where we were given an insider’s view into the inner workings of the station. Thanks to the generosity of Larry Kahn ’83, we were lucky enough to be on set for Michael Breed’s show “The Golf Fix.” We just missed Annika Sorenstam who had been there earlier filming for the show. The enthusiastic Breed spoke about tempo and gave us a few drills to get Ernie’s rhythm. Although we didn’t get to see Annika live, we did get to watch her segment in which she gave some great advice on the mental game. Her three main points were: one, everyone gets nervous, accept it and learn to channel it; two, remind yourself that you’ve done this a million times; three, stick to your routine. We were also allowed to spend time in the control room where we saw the complicated process of how the show i! s made and run.Following our great visit, we were joined by Mr. Kahn and for a fun and festive dinner.
Interlachen – Tuesday, March 16
By Danny Mayer ‘10
Despite a particularly cold morning in Central Florida on Tuesday, the men’s team climbed into their van and drove from their house to Winter Park to play Interlachen Country Club, the home course of senior captain Danny Mayer ’10. After some early morning practice, the team grabbed a quick bite in the clubhouse and then headed to the first tee.
The 7,200 yard track was redesigned a few years ago and now maintains status as one of the hardest courses in Florida with a course rating of 76.3 and a slope of 153. While the layout is relatively wide-open for driving, the course gets complicated around the greens, featuring vast undulations and bunkers galore. Although water comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes, the conditions on Tuesday offered a real chance to score as there was limited wind and sunny skies. Greg Shuman ’10 turned in the best round of the day with a 1-under par 71.
After the round the men’s and women’s team went to the Mayers’ house for dinner and various activities that included basketball and ping-pong among others.
A big ‘thank you’ from the entire program to the Mayers for a productive and fun day – golf at Interlachen, lunch, dinner, inviting us into their beautiful home and an evening filled with activities.
Mountain Lake – Wednesday, March 17
By John Ezekowitz ‘13
On Wednesday, the Harvard Men's Golf Team drove an hour south of Orlando to Lake Wales to play at Mountain Lake Golf Course, a hidden gem designed by Seth Raynor. The team thoroughly enjoyed the course and the day. All of the members and staff were warm and welcoming. Several members of The Country Club were on the course and helped us to feel at home. We also met quite a few Harvard grads over the course of the day.
What started as an overcast, rainy morning turned into a brilliant, sunny afternoon by the back nine. The course was in great shape and the greens were the best the team played on all trip. Mark Pollak '12 played well, shooting a one-under 69. One highlight of the course was the finishing hole, a dramatic uphill par-4 whose green sat just in front of Frederick Law Olmstead's stunning clubhouse. The trip to Mountain Lake was definitely one of the team’s favorite days of Spring Break. Thank you to Jonathan Powell, Head Golf Professional at Mountain Lake, for making the day possible.
Grande Pines / Bay Hill – Thursday, March
By Louis Amira ‘11
After a full morning of practice at the Faldo Institute, the Men’s Golf team headed to Grande Pines to test its skills on the course. As one of Golfweek’s Top 100 “America’s Best Resort Courses,” the 7,000 yard track proved to be quite the test. Winds upwards of 20 miles per hour made the rolling fairways and undulating greens harder to hit and hold. This experience should benefit the players once they play the likes of Yale and Baltusrol in the weeks to come. Mark Pollak ’12 put together a solid round of 73 including three birdies and an eagle on the 340 yard seventh.
While the rest of the team played Grande Pines, the four seniors were treated to a round at Bay Hill the week before the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With all the tents, scoreboards, and bleachers lining the lush green fairways and rough, the senior contingent teed it up with Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer and one of Danny Mayer’s ’10 friends from high school. Sam, an aspiring PGA Tour Professional, fired a 68 in the practice round that included a surprise visit by Mr. Palmer himself. Special thanks to Sam and Mr. Palmer for their help and generosity. Also thank you to Greg Shuman’s parents – Eric Shuman and Betsy Monrad Shuman – for access to the course.
Royal St. Cloud – Friday, March 19
By Max Campion ‘13
The Harvard Men’s Golf team had an early morning tee time at Royal St. Cloud Golf Club in Orlando, Florida on Friday March 19th. The first tee shots were struck while the sun was just beginning to rise at 7:15 am, but the team was prepared to take on Scottish style course on the final day of practice before the match with Cornell on Saturday. Royal St. Cloud has 27 holes on property, which are broken up into three distinct nine-hole courses. The Men’s team played their front nine on the White Course, which proved to be relatively straight forward, with generous landing areas and flat greens. The Crimson played their back nine on the Red Course, which proved to be quite challenging due to narrow holes, high fescue grass and increased winds. Afterwards, the team headed to the Faldo Institute to practice for the rest of the afternoon.
Match vs. Cornell at Shingle Creek – Saturday,
By Greg Shuman ‘10
On Saturday, March 20, the men's golf team ventured to Shingle Creek golf club to participate in a match against Cornell. The 7,200+ yard Shingle Creek golf course featured an open layout with water on 16 of the 18 holes. The teams were greeted by the best weather of the trip with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. While the Crimson had a week to fine tune their games and prepare for the match, the Big Red were on their first day of spring break. The hard work and preparation for the spring season seemed to pay off for the Harvard guys in the match play format; the Crimson won 6 of 7 matches. Although the format was match play, Danny Mayer ’10 put together a solid round of 1-under par 71. The Saturday match was a great conclusion to a week of hard work and commitment by the men's golf team.
We would like to extend a special thanks to the friends of Harvard Golf, without whom this trip would not be possible. In addition, we’d also like to express a huge thanks to Harvard’s director of golf Fred Schernecker who set up a wonderful and fun week of golf for both the men's and women's teams; his help and efforts are much appreciated by everyone in the program.