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Men's Golf Completes 12-Day International Trip to Australia, New Zealand

The Harvard men's golf team toured Australia and New Zealand (Harvard men's golf).

By Seiji Liu '14 - Dec. 29, 2013

The men of the Harvard Golf Team traveled from all corners of the country to sunny Los Angeles on Dec. 27 to embark on a two-week journey to Australia and New Zealand. As a sneak preview for the upcoming spring training trip to southern California, several team members met up in Los Angeles on the 26th and were graciously hosted by the Liu family for the night and golf the next morning. At 7 p.m., the team gathered at Los Angeles International Airport, bid farewell to loved ones and prepared for the upcoming 14-hour flight across the Pacific to the land down under.

The team arrived at their layover in Auckland, New Zealand with stiff backs but wide smiles and anticipation for the ensuing experience. Unwelcome adventures began before the team took off for Sydney, Australia. Team members went on a scavenger hunt across Auckland Airport searching for freshman Kendrick Vinar's misplaced passport. The passport was located at the last minute thanks to a slight delay of the plane.

Mother Nature smiled on the team members in Sydney with sunny skies, temperatures in the high70's. The natural ambience served to alleviate the difficult transition of driving on the other side of the road.

The first day featured a boat tour of Sydney Harbor with picturesque views of the entire city and luminous panoramas of the harbor. Team members flooded their cameras with smiles and waves amidst the warm rays of Australian sun intertwining the cool harbor gusts and salty mist of the Pacific. Un Cho '16 even got in some practice as a Pantene hair model.

After a seafood dinner at Watson Bay the team got a front row seat to the magnificent architecture of the Sydney Opera House amidst the rolling waves and bright city lights.

The team finally arrived to their temporary home at the UniLodge in New South Wales around midnight, but not before a few members tested their mental tenacity when they were haplessly trapped in an elevator. Through collective effort and decisive action, they were able to break open the elevator doors and escape. An eventful first day!

They returned to their rooms and prepared for their first taste of competition the next morning at the Australian Golf Club.!!!!

By: Rohan Ramnath '16 - Dec. 30, 2013

To start their first full day in Sydney, the men trooped down to the conveniently located cafe and were met by buttery pancakes and creamy hot chocolate. Afterward, they packed into the vans and traveled to The Australian Club for their afternoon round with members and the club team of strong amateur players (and former pros). The team was able to identify with lost tourists in Harvard Yard with an hour of circling the course before finding the entrance.

It was worth the wait. The course featured a beautiful clubhouse overlooking the finishing holes and a multi-tiered practice putting green. The Crimson enjoyed access to one of the best courses in Australia and frequent host of the Australian Open thanks to the generosity of Peter Hasko (PMD'93). The Australian was originally opened in 1882 and is the oldest club in Australia sharing that distinction and inaugural year with The Country Club in Brookline.

The match featured a team of twelve each from Harvard and The Australian Club with the nine Harvard team members being joined by Kevin Rhoads, Daniel Joseph, and Fred Schernecker. The recent redesign of the course by Jack Nicklaus provided familiar terrain for most of the team with his signature undulated greens, fall-offs, and collection areas. The men played a Handicapped Single Stableford format and each team counted the best nine scores out of twelve to reach the team score.

The Crimson were all a bit rusty after final exams and a full day of travel, but put up a great fight against a strong Australian team. The Australian team prevailed in the end and great fun was had by all. The day at the club and the tremendous hospitality shown by the members was capped off with a sumptuous and filling barbecue dinner.

A huge thanks goes out to Peter Hasko, Head Professional Justin Rapley, and all the members of the Australian Club for enabling this amazing experience to happen. The thrill of playing the great and historic track was overshadowed by the generosity and friendship shown by the gracious hosts!

By: Akash Mirchandani '15 - Dec. 31, 2013

After two great days in Sydney, the Crimson rose early on New Year's Eve with a full day ahead. First, the team grabbed breakfast on the go on the way to New South Wales Golf Club, known as La Perouseto most local Australians. La Perouse is situated in a national park on hilly terrain surrounded by water on three sides. Designed in 1926 by Dr. Alister MacKenzie (known most affectionately for his designs of Cypress Point and Augusta National), La Perouse is a links-style course that places a premium on shot making.

This day pitted the Crimson against many of the best members at La Perouse in a friendly Singles Stableford format match. The round was filled with great laughs, competition, and many pictures. Set among the rocks and waves of the Pacific Ocean, the par-5 5th and par-3 6th holes offered incredibly striking views.

After battling 2-3 club winds at The Australian the day before, the morning began at New South Wales with calm winds—a major anomaly as the members frequently mentioned. Although the Crimson hit many superb shots on this day, the members of La Perouse prevailed in the match. A sumptuous meal with the members after the round along with a small gift exchange fueled the team for the rest of the day. Huge thanks go to Peter Hasko PMD '93, New South Wales President Barry Breen, and club Captain Phil Banister. All three worked tirelessly to put together a memorable and wonderful day where all team members were made to feel at home and welcome. The opportunity to play with and get to know the talented of La Perouse enhanced the day. We will long remember our new friends at New South Wales for their camaraderie and warm hospitality.

After the round several of the Crimson joined Assistant Coach Daniel Joseph at Coogee Beach to experience firsthand one of Sydney's world famous beaches. The deep blue waters combined with the crushing waves of the Pacific made for an entertaining visit. After a quick change of clothes and a short drive, the team met at the Rose Bay Marina to embark on a boat cruise with Fred Schernecker and his family. The boat cruise proved to be relaxing and offered a remarkable view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge during the early New Year's Eve fireworks.

A day in Sydney would not be complete without some intrigue. This time, the maritime police stopped the Crimson's boat for speeding on its return to the marina – the skipper (a Sydney police officer) was blazing along at 7 knots in a 6 knot zone.

New Years in Sydney with fireworks exploding over the Opera House and Harbor Bridge was a great setting for the Crimson to reflect and consider all those we owe gratitude. Learning about the cosmopolitan and eclectic culture, playing amazing golf courses, and meeting many new friends in Sydney would not have been possible without the generosity of the Friends of Harvard Golf. Thank you.!!!

By: Robert Deng '17 - Jan. 1, 2014

Harvard Golf woke up bright and early on New Year's Day to travel to the airport: destination Queenstown, New Zealand. The theme continued as the boys did not reach Queenstown without trouble. During the process, three golf travel cases belonging to Fred Schernecker, Kevin McCarthy '14and Seiji Liu '14 were lost. After seeking help from the Air New Zealand help desk, the boys were assured that every effort would be put into finding their bags. Still, the situation seemed unsettling. The mood -- bleak and uneasy.

The overall mood turned around when the boys arrived at Jack's Point Golf Club, a beautiful lakeside links type course located in a valley surrounded by mountains and Lake Wakatipu. The boys teed of fat 6:30 pm in bright sunshine. In the ensuing three hours of daylight, the boys juggled taking pictures on the beautiful lakeside holes, hitting quality golf shots, and running between shots in order to finish the round strong while fully recording the memorable time.

Everyone was left speechless by the wonderful course blended seamlessly into pure, untouched nature. After the round, the boys grabbed a late and much needed meal at a pizzeria near their hotel. It was time for bed, and the boys had a long day of golf ahead.!!

By: Daniel De La Garza '17 - Jan. 2, 2014

After a good night's rest and splendid breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Queenstown, the team was eager to play Jack's Point Golf Club once again. The 6,388 meters golf course is surrounded 8,000 foot mountains knows as The Remarkables and plays along the banks of a glacial lake. Jack's Point, considered by most to be the best course on the South Island of New Zealand is named for jack rabbits rather than Jack Nicklaus and is known for its impressive views and elevation changes. The course was conceived and designed by John Darby who has connections to the Harvard School of Design.

The weather started cool with showers but that was not going to stop the Harvard Men's golf team from playing as many holes as possible at the beautiful New Zealand track.

For the first eighteen holes the team decided to play in threesomes and have a friendly competition. The format consisted of each team counting their best ball. However, if two or more people birdied ahole, all birdies would count. The team results were as follows:

Theo, Seiji, and Un (-9)
Akash, Kendrick, and Rohan (-8)
Daniel, Kevin, and Robert (-7)

The winning team had an impressive front nine shooting 8 under par from holes 4 to 9, highlighted by five birdies in a row from Captain Theo Lederhausen '14.

In the afternoon, conditions got tougher with wind gusts reaching up to 40 MPH with light rainshowers coming and going throughout the round. Nevertheless, the team decided to keep playing and got in 12 more holes before the sun set.

The friendly match, which was played under tough conditions, was a great way for the team to start building confidence and get their games ready for the spring season.

Afterwards, the team had the opportunity to see Queenstown, New Zealand one last time having dinner at a great restaurant called "Pier 19".

A sincere thank you to the boys in the pro shop – Cody and Rob – who were helpful and welcoming at every turn.

The opportunity was made possible by the General Manager at Jack's Point -- John Griffin who madetime to share insights on Queenstown, help with logistics for the trip. Thank you John!!

By: Un Cho '16 - Jan. 3, 2014

Adventure Tales in Queenstown

Great golf was played and even more awaited
But today was the day that adventurous tales would be created.

When the men awoke early at dusk
The weather was questionable… it was hard to trust
But after a hearty heart breakfast at the Hilton Hotel,
Our luck changed as we bid the rainclouds a farewell.

Off the team went to the heart of Queenstown
Oh what beauty we saw in the city's downtown!
A scenic place, it was a splendor indeed
But soon everyone got hungry and lunch was something we truly did need

Our appetite's found refuge in the world famous Fergburger
The taste was heavenly! The experience was a moment of fervor
Bacons, pineapples, and tons of fresh vege
Each bite was ecstasy, Oh it was merry!

With our tummy's full again it was time for some real fun
So we headed to the harbor to get wet under the sun
A speed boat "tour" was what we decided to take
Little did we know our senses were at stake
Quite ridiculous how fast that boat did travel
The shock of the waves felt like we were riding over gravel
Big airtime and even a 360 turn
So fast did the boat go that our stomachs did churn

We got drenched but happy we were
Was it worth it? A candid "for sure"!

Next it was the gondola and luge ride
What beautiful sites the gondola did provide!

We rode gondolas up and up Bob's peak
Those who were afraid of heights did not peek

When it was time to luge,Some were nervous and others were excited
It was questionable whether Akash would even ride it

Nevertheless, the entire team was soon riding down Bob's peak
For adventure and fun was what the team seeked

Down and down the luge carts went
Through tight curves and turns, Oh what a descent!

We raced, we laughed and spirits were high
We had so much fun we never wanted to say bye

But the day was coming to an end and it was time for dinner
We all came off that mountain feeling like a winner

O what great fun we had in Queenstown
I recommend anyone to visit, it will not be a let down!

By: Kendrick Vinar '17 - Jan. 4, 2014

Note: Today's recap will consist of parceled quotes* and anecdotes from teammates and coaches.

*quotes used are in no way directly accurate, may or may not honestly reflect views held by mentioned individuals, and may be contorted as the author sees fit

Rohan: Breakfast this morning was awesome. *shakes head in mild disbelief* I crushed it. Totally one of the highlights of our time in Queenstown.

Theo: Is it wrong I was talking about how excited I was for breakfast this morning when we werelooking for dinner last night?

Un (softly): Yeah, breakfast was good. We went a little stupid. *gentle chuckle*-----

Akash: Three flights today. Brutal. It's like a country-sized game of hopscotch.

Kendrick: How weird is it that there were zero security checks in the airport?

Seiji: I could have sworn those goats we saw beneath us were dogs...

Flight attendant 1 (in a Kiwi lilt watching Kendrick struggle to fit a grossly oversized carry-on in the overhead compartment, underneath his seat, and anywhere else that looked promising): I don't thinkthat piece will fit, sir.

Flight attendant 2 (murmuring): Goodness, not even close. He's not the only one either.

Theo (in an exasperated tone): Guys, none of this would have happened if you only packed what I told you to.

Kendrick and Daniel (in unison): Guilty.----------

Fred (eating a local meal of beets and carrots in Wellington airport): Guys, you come to New Zealandand eat Subway?

Robert, Daniel, Un, Kendrick, and Seiji (in unison): Guilty.---------

Kevin: I talked to a guy on the New Zealand national croquet team on our flight into Napier. Apparently they're playing England tomorrow.

Rohan: We should go watch them tomorrow.

Kevin: The matches are twelve hours long.

Un: Do you want to watch croquet?

Kendrick: No. Do you?

Un: No.------

Fred: Has anyone seen my jacket?

Theo: No... wait, am I wearing it?

Rohan: I think anyone would know if they were wearing Fred's jacket; it would be like wearing abedsheet.-------

Coach Daniel: This pad thai really hits the spot after that round.

Robert: We're lucky we found a spot open so late. It's after 11.

Rohan: It's absurd how late the sun sets. We could easily play 'till 10.

Daniel: Wifi?

Fred: Akash played great today. Five birdies on Cape Kidnappers is really good.

Coach Kevin: Round of the day definitely belongs to Rohan - 69 on a course he's never seen.

Seiji: We dodged a bullet with the weather. It wasn't windy today.

Fred: What is this music?

Coach Daniel: Sounds like elevator music.

Coach Kevin (laughing): To have this music playing in this little authentic restaurant late at night - sofunny.

Kevin: Is this the Beatles?

Coach Daniel: Yeah, same 4 songs on repeat all night. They probably put this on just for us.

Akash: How about those cliffs on 15 and 16 today? Those overlooks were incredible.

Seiji: Pretty dirty. We snapped a lot of pics.

Theo: I was so rattled by our caddies. I got some brutal reads. I pured it today though. Can't wait to get back out there tomorrow.

Entire team: *chorus of agreement*

Daniel: Tay-o (Theo), ready to lose tomorrow?

Theo: Bring it on, chicharito!!!!

By: Kevin McCarthy '14 - Jan. 5, 2014

The Harvard Men's Golf Team started their first full day in Napier with a beachside breakfast. As theguys ate a healthy meal while overlooking the Pacific Ocean, they discussed stories from the previous day's round at Cape Kidnappers. They had seen the Tom Doak-designed course once and were eagerly awaiting another shot at the challenging, majestic layout that is ranked among the top 40 courses inthe world.

After the 13-minute drive from the front gate to the clubhouse at Cape Kidnappers, the team steppedout of the van and was met with a stiff wind. Given that the course sits upon gigantic cliffs at the edgeof the Pacific, the gusts only strengthened as the day went on. The winds reached a steady 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 50 mph. The finishing holes became treacherous as golf carts wererocking in their place while the guys struggled to keep from being blown over during swings. On the 15th hole, a par 5 that stretches into the ocean, the massive cliffs created a vortex of gusts that causedone half of the hole to have a strong left to right wind while the other half had an equally intense rightto left wind. The playing conditions were extreme to say the least.

Despite these circumstances, the team used the challenges to test their commitment to being processoriented.The guys recognized that they could not control the 50 mph wind gusts but could only focuson what they were doing. Demonstrating this mindset to the greatest extent, Rohan Ramnath '16 (Weston, Fla.) kept his composure throughout the round to shoot an impressive 77.

The Crimson felt so fortunate to be at Cape Kidnappers. The serenity of the ocean views and sharp cliffs provided a perfect juxtaposition to the treacherous wind gusts that the guys played through. Everyone at Cape Kidnappers was incredibly welcoming and made the guys feel right at home. The team would like to extend their sincere gratitude to all of the staff and caddies at Cape Kidnappers who helped to make their experience truly memorable.

Special thanks goes out to Director of Golf, Ryan Brandenburg and Head Professional Jon McCord,both of whom went above and beyond in helping to make the day possible.

Following a full day at the course, the team enjoyed a great meal at Pipi's Pizzeria, a local favorite that offers specialty pizzas in a very cool environment. The guys ate as much as they could and then ate some more. The drive back to the hotel provided the team with an opportunity to witness the beautiful New Zealand night sky that was filled end to end with stars. The team went to bed excited to start another action-packed day of memories and experiences.

By: Kendrick Vinar '17 - Jan. 6, 2014

Two flights from Napier found the team in Kerikeri near the Bay of Islands. The second plane held about twenty passengers with views into the pilot's cabin. Some of the team members were a little concerned because it was their first time flying in such a small plane, which experienced turbulencefor most of the flight.

After arriving safely to Bay of Islands, New Zealand, the team was scheduled to take, what we thoughtwould be a regular cruise that afternoon. However, the 'tall ship' we boarded had a pirate-like design,made of wood and a large mast in the middle of the ship. It was an active experience with a climbing wall, opening the sail and steering the ship. Many of the team members climbed to the top of themast, while others were asked to ready the ship and steer the boat.!!!!!!

By: Theo Lederhausen '14 - Jan. 7, 2014

The day's journey began with a long drive through the beautiful New Zealand northland countryside, viewing mountains, rolling hills, animals (mostly sheep), and water all around us. This part of the country was surprisingly tropical, which turned out to be an integral part of the golf course. Upon arriving at Kauri Cliffs, the team was graciously welcomed by golf professional Jeff Beaumont, a closefriend of Coaches Kevin Rhoads and Daniel Joseph from their time together at The Country Club.

Kauri Cliffs is a world-renowned resort and golf facility designed by David Harman, located on the Northeastern coast of New Zealand. It currently ranks as the 53rd best golf course in the world andoffers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean from an elevated position in the cliffs. Most holes on the course overlook the ocean and many of those stand on the edge of cliffs alongside the beach. Needless to say, the views were stunning and the course was equally impressive.

After the first round, the team refueled for the afternoon round with an amazing choice of burgers, salads, and chicken curry wraps. To make things a little more interesting, the Crimson split into threeteams of three players for a friendly intra-team match. Akash Mirchadani '15, Rohan Ramnath '16, and Daniel De La Garza '17 took home the victory, and everyone had an incredible day at this beautiful facility.

Unexpectedly, the staff at Kauri Cliffs constructed an elaborate mini-putt course on the practiceputting green for the guests at the lodge. They cleverly used items from the pro shop and clubhouse, such as needlepoint belts, poker chip ball markers, and seashells. Because of the never-ending sunlight, the team played on the course like kids in a candy store for hours even after completing their 36 holes of play.

It eventually got dark and the team went for dinner at a delicious Mediterranean restaurant called Café Jerusalem at the recommendation of the Kauri Cliffs staff. The team would like to thank Jeff Beaumont, Director of Golf Ryan Brandenburg and the entire staff at Kauri Cliffs for their generosityand hospitality during our time at the Bay of Islands.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention that Julian Robertson showed incredible vision andcommitment to excellence as he is the founding owner of both Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs. Amazing!!!!

By: Robert Deng '17 - Jan. 8, 2014

Harvard Golf once again woke up early, but this time for a tour of Northern New Zealand. Thefestivities began as the boys departed on a charter bus, featuring a hilarious bus driver and tour guide. Derrick led the group first to New Zealand's Puketi rain forest, a tropical showcase of trees of all kind, including the famous Kauri tree. After a 10-minute boardwalk tour inside Puketi rain forest, the grouphopped back on the bus, destination: Ninety Mile Beach.

Ninety Mile Beach is actually a 56-mile long strip of sand along the ocean that features firmly packedsand fit for heavy vehicles. The boys were fascinated by how Derrick drove a bus weighing several tonsright onto the beach. After driving through the entirety of Ninety Mile Beach, the hearty group of boysmade their way to the Tepaki sand dunes.

Besides visual enjoyment, the large sand dunes provided another form of utility: sandsurfing. Themen eagerly stepped up to the challenges, both the challenge of hauling a board up to the top of as and dune as well as the challenge of speeding down to the bottom first. After four or five cycles, themen were physically exhausted but mentally refreshed after the thrill.

Next, Derrick drove the merry group to Taipurupuru Bay, a beautiful cove where the weather waswarm and the water was clear. Our group took a dip in the chilly waters, had a bite to eat for lunch,and left for the final and most scenic destination of the day: Cape Reinga. In Maori culture, Cape Reinga is the place where spirits depart from the living world to the otherworld. It is also the placewhere the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

After snapping some pictures and paying respect to the Maori culture, Harvard Golf got back on thebus, and went home. The boys played some touch football and enjoyed a delicious barbecue dinner fortheir final night in New Zealand.

After filling up their hearts with joy and their stomachs with food, the boys went to bed, prepared forthe next day to come.!!!

By: Kendrick Vinar '17 - Jan. 9, 2014

The Harvard Men's Golf Team rose early in the morning to pack and to prepare for the final day. Wedeparted Waitangi River Lodge after a brief breakfast. We were very fortunate to enjoy the use of thelodge during our stay in Kerikeri.

After arranging the pairings and organizing our match for the morning round, a best ball competitioncounting two of three scores on each hole, the team began their third and final journey around Kauri Cliffs.

The team's final round of the trip produced some of their sharpest golf. Each team posted under parrounds, taking advantage of relatively calm winds and the experience gained from having seen the course. Ultimately, the freshman team of Daniel de la Garza, Robert Deng, and Kendrick Vinar proved victorious, shooting -6 to earn a narrow one-stroke win over the team led by Kevin McCarthy '14, Seiji Liu '14, and Un Cho '16.

Intermittent sun showers dampened the day but not the teams' spirits; they thoroughly enjoyed their final round of the trip.

After a quick lunch, showers, and souvenir shopping in the pro shop, the team boarded the vans for a five-hour drive to Auckland, where they would catch a late evening red-eye flight to Los Angeles. During the flight the team reflected on the remarkable experiences and adventures they had enjoyed. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the team congregated to make final remarks about the trip and say their goodbyes to team members and coaches.

We were humbled by the incredible opportunities made available to us during this trip. We acknowledged the specialness of our time together and appreciated those who contributed their timeand money to make this trip possible.

As the goodbyes came to a close, several team members remained at the Los Angeles airport to waitfor evening flights back to the East Coast. Captain Theo Lederhausen '14 led hungry baggage clutching team members, Kevin McCarthy '14, Akash Mirchandani '15, Rohan Ramnath '16, and Kendrick Vinar '17, on an adventurous expedition to the nearest In-N-Out Burger, a famous burger restaurant exclusive to California. They reminisced about their favorite parts of the trip over juicyburgers, which may or may not live up their legend, depending on whom you ask. Vinar, social media giant, creative media genius, and photographer extraordinaire, documented their adventure in this brief Snapchat compilation.

Upon concluding the meal, the remaining team members trekked back to the airport. Throughout the day team members departed for their homes, eager to continue working on their golf games and grateful for the chance to travel around the world playing golf and experiencing foreign culture with their close friends.

In conclusion, we would like to extend our thanks to all the courses, individuals, and staff who hosted us during our trip. We were welcomed warmly at each course we visited. We appreciate the kind hospitality from all of you. It really made our trip special.

Secondly, we want to thank all our generous donors. Without your funding, this trip would not be possible. Thank you for contributing to our program and to this trip; we are very grateful for your support.

Additionally, we would like to extend our gratitude to our coaching staff, Kevin Rhoads and David Joseph. They stayed with us throughout the trip and managed many of the day-to-day details that made our time possible.

Lastly, we would like to extend a special thank you to Fred Schernecker '89, the Paul Weissman Director of Harvard Golf. He spent countless hours organizing and planning our trip. We are grateful for all you have done in making this trip possible. It wouldn't have been possible without your oversight and direction.

To all, our most sincere thanks.

Harvard Men's Golf!