Allie White, second-year member on the Symetra Tour, will be sharing her adventures throughout the 2014 season. If you, the fans, have a question or topic you'd like Allie to cover just e-mail us at Symetra Tour. Be sure to take a look back at her blogs from her 2013 Rookie season.
Tar Heel USA
Can we talk about Asheville, North Carolina for a second? After a year on tour it is still my favorite stop. Frankly, I'm a little bummed out it's over.
Let's just start with Luella's BBQ for beginners. I'm talking southern barbecue... and I don't even like hush puppies and those were ridiculously tasty. Beyond the hushpuppies the two bluegrass singers were talented studs. That's my kind of evening with friends and family.
Number two... the cool belt that I bought at the general store. Very hippie-free-spirited golfer... lots of good vibes. I don't know if my sister was feeling it but I think it's a darn good belt.
Number three... Mayfield's with the family. After caddying for me for 36 holes through the mountains my sister was pretty ready to chill Saturday night. That's right my sister the school nurse who single handedly battles sickness and injury day in and day out at Lockeland Elementary (aka flu center/ lice jungle/ nosebleed plaza / and marbles in terrible places dangerzone) also easily, without even breathing hard knocked, out a whole weekend of caddying in the mountains. Let's just say, when I made it to the top of number 6 (which only plays like four clubs uphill) I was huffing and puffing and she was handing me the putter giving me that "pull it together" look. She was awesome and we were all ready for dinner that night. My mom and dad who were battling a cold and the elements of the mountains (legend has it that we teed off at 38 degrees for day two) needed some grub. So Mayfield's in downtown Asheville came through in the most heroic sort of way with catfish, potato, and mousse cake. I was very happy for the good company and vittles.
Number four... Mountain Springs log cabins. Yep... I hooked mom, pops, and Ginny up with our own little cabin. Quite the getaway... complete with a fireplace, a creek, a farm dog, etc. Props to me for getting in touch with the local nature for the week (I'm still looking for a bear!).
Number five... The Oglesby's who housed me for a night. Thank you. They said their place was on top of a mountain and after I made my tenth switch back I realized they literally meant on top of a mountain.
Number six... Throwing the first pitch at the Asheville Tourists baseball game with teammate Casey Grice. Not quite a strike but that was fun!
I could say more good things about Asheville but in short, it was a good time and I played good golf so I was happy. I know that you are theoretically supposed to disassociate yourself from your score... and I do that well enough... but every now and then it is fun to see the ball go where you are actually trying to hit it. Thank you Asheville Symetra Staff and Country Club Staff for that week.
The North Carolina stretch continued on to Charlotte last week. The best part about Charlotte was the Tar Heel caddy help. Last year I was at my first Symetra event ever caddying for Catherine O'Donnell. This year I had my teammates caddying for me. Two of my best friends from college, Assistant ECU Golf Coach Courtney Gunter and recent grad Katherine Perry split time hauling around my sticks for me (a special kudos to KP's vocals belting out country music hits like oh my god this is my song!) . According to them... the course was very hilly. And after a five week stretch of tournaments I could not have made it without them. I probably would have laid down beside one of the ponds out there, bought a beer, and called it quits without their help.
Charlotte was another solid effort on the links for me. I got my cuts made back up to a career .500 after a slow start to the season so although that's not really making me a millionaire yet I'm getting there. Congrats to the Carolina victors Marissa Steen and Mallory Blackwelder.
After Charlotte, I got to go home to Cary and celebrate Memorial Day with my awesome roommate Christopher and our friends. We had a great day.
We have both had friends in the past and friends now who spent their Memorial Day serving in Afghanistan. It is hard to imagine such a place when you are used to living in America where there are microbreweries and cookouts and people's kindness everywhere. Obviously a thank you (and more) is in order for those men and women who help protect our way of life here. Thank you.
As for the golf journey, I am set to play in my US Open qualifier in Sanford North Carolina on Thursday with my two teammates Maia Schecter and Katherine Perry (hoping to join qualifier Catherine O). Yeah that's us... prepping for the US Open in good old Tar Heel USA!
Back to the Beginning
Wow!... It is hard to believe that I will be teeing it up this Friday back in Asheville where I played my first ever Symetra Tour event: The Friends of Mission Charity Classic. I have driven a few places here and there since then... nowhere too outlandish or too far... just the Upper Peninsula, the Coast of Maine, Siesta Key, etc. etc. Mars... those dwarf planets by Pluto... Andromeda... you get the idea. You gotta love the casual nine hour Tuesday cruise... no big deal. My host families and friends have been giving me a hard time lately because when they ask me, "when are you leaving again?" my answer is usually something like "tomorrow" and they say, "What!? You just got here!"
But I do love getting to have a look around the countryside. In fact, I might be the tour player who is most excited about going to Kansas this year (twice!). To some people Kansas might seem like a less than exciting spot on the map. My playing partners last week were begrudging a "boring" drive through Kansas just the other day. But to me the endless fields of wheat and corn rippling in the sunset with a glass of chocolate milk in your right hand is equal to looking at the ocean from Siesta Key beach with a margarita in your cup-holder and a warm breeze playing with your hair (another lovely alternative to driving no doubt :).
But let's get one thing straight here, the East Coast scenery has been cool and all but it is the people at a golf tournament that make the Tour outstanding. The people are what most struck me about my first event in Asheville and it is what is most apparent to me now while I sit in my host housing here in Greenwood, South Carolina for the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Classic. The volunteers, staff, players, and supportive fans who come out for the love of the game are really quite a solid crew.
I mean, despite being humbled by the unbearable 80 and missed cut this past week in Greenwood I still feel pretty darn good about myself. And maybe it's my inflated ego or the free back massages they have been giving out... but I think it has mostly been the hospitality of the folks at Greenwood that has made me feel so welcomed and like a really good golfer. There is no way we can thank all of the people at Stoney Point enough. Owners Jim and Denise Medford blew the phrase “Southern hospitality” out of the water. Not to mention I have to give a thanks to my outstanding local caddy/golfer Chelsey Couch!
And it isn't just Stoney Point that has been a great home for Tour travelers like me. Twe weeks ago in Fort Myers, Florida for the Chico's Patty Berg Classic, the folks at Cypress Lake took care of every detail for us as well. I had the pleasure of staying with Ken Nimmer and his wife Elaine. Ken is an expert fly fisherman and also a top notch golfer. He manned the bag for me at Cypress Lake and with a few good reads and some time spent practicing wedges he helped me take it from an 80 to a 68--make the cut weekend. Yep, thanks Ken. It was nice to know that 68 is in there and that I just have to keep working at it.
And then at the beginning of this five week stretch, we found ourselves in Sarasota for the Guardian Retirement Classic at Sara Bay. Again, the supporters were great. I was fortunate enough to stay with my father's longest friend, Tim Stark and his wife, Karen in Siesta Key that week… a big thank you to them!
Sarasota is a notable place for me. When I was a kid growing up in Ohio we would go down to Sarasota once a year to visit my only at the time living grandparent, Papa or Bertram Wade White (yep Bertram... what kind of name is that?). Well the name Bertram is a name from the 1920's. It is the name of a man who serves during World War II in the army; a man who plays football for Oberlin while working his way through college at the book store (given college was few bucks less back then); a man who becomes a very hard working lead businessman; a man who marries a teacher and has two sons who graduate from college (one being my awesome Dad and the other my uncle Terry who golfed for Stanford back in the day); and a man who helped support his three grandchildren through college.
That's the kind of name Bertram is... and oh yeah he stole the family pot on hole-in-ones too... like 7... and my Dad and I are saying come on dude... share! Although he's been gone for a decade, I can see him up somewhere chuckling at me when I just miss my hole-in-one (I've done that at least seven hundred times)... saying "Come on kid, keep going and earn it." I would have loved to have beaten him back when he was a young stud but that would have been tough... I would have really loved if he could have made it out here to one of our tournaments so that he could see how good women are at golf. It is a good thing that there are plenty of good folks out here to share the ups and downs with me. I know my papa would have appreciated it.
See y’all in Asheville!