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.
A Canadian Last Week in Arizona, Eh?
Last week, while the Symetra Tour was debuting with the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Arizona, I found myself landing at the Raleigh airport after a couple days visiting the folks in Ohio. I got in just in time to watch the last five minutes of the USA Women’s hockey team taking on Canada’s crew. I was pretty stoked about getting to watch my fellow Americans, up 2-0, poised to clinch gold. But then, well, suddenly the score was 2-1, we ricocheted a puck off the empty net, then it was 2-2, and well, you all saw what happened after that. Nevertheless, considering Olympic Hockey as a whole, our girls made me really proud. Anyways, I was looking forward to redemption on the ice the next day when Canada’s men took on the Red, White, and Blue who were looking phenomenal after an incredible upset of the Russians. And well, still proud to be an American, that one did not turn out either. So at the end of the day, it was hats off to the Canucks and I decided I needed to give my friend, Canadian Natalie Gleadall a chance to talk over all of the good stuff about Canada (and there is a bunch!).
I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie last spring out on the Sun Coast Tour where we both found ourselves battling to stay prepared for the chance to earn better status for Symetra Tour events and other tours. If you’ve never met Natalie before, well, you would be hard pressed to find a more good-hearted, gregarious, quality gal. Not to mention she’s a pro golfer, so that’s cool. Having the opportunity to interact with players from many different countries has been one of my favorite aspects of the Symetra Tour. Last year I really appreciated being able to share dinner with folks from South America, Europe, wherever, it’s really neat.
But before I get carried away and end up in Mongolia or somewhere, back to Natalie and Canada. As fortune would have it, I was able to ask Natalie some question via the wonderful web. So here are some of her thoughts on her performance in Mesa and on being Canadian.
Last week Natalie fired a two under, 70, to start things off, then went 75, 72 to end up +1 for the tournament, T42, making her first cut of the season. I asked Natalie about her best shot of the week and she told me about her craziest shot. On hole number 14, Natalie found herself off in the desert after watching her approach shot twang off the cart path. With a bush blocking most options she told her Dad, who caddied for her this week, that she needed to hit a left handed shot. Although her Dad was, in her words “closing his eyes thinking this could be a disaster”, she knocked the lefty right onto the green, no problemo!
Natalie gave a lot of credit to her chill Dad for helping make it such a fun enjoyable week. She said her favorite off the course time was spent sightseeing with him. They hit up the beautiful mountains in Mesa, checked out the Chicago Cubs spring training facility, and spent some time at the Mesa War Plane Museum paying their respects to a sobering WWI and WWII airplane exhibit. That sounds like a pretty cool day with your dad to me. Natalie also wanted to thank her impressive fan club that included Canadian friends Don and Shirley Wright, her boyfriend’s folks Greg and Mary, as well as private housing providers Dennis and Maureen Weeks.
She loves getting to meet so many wonderful people along her golf journey.
I asked Natalie if playing in Arizona was a difficult adjustment after growing up on Oh Canada’s Northern tracks. She commented that the “the dry gound” and “thin air” and “hard greens” makes for a ball that flies farther, rolls longer, and is harder to stop. During the practice round she said her good friend, Canadian Nicole Vandermade, knocked a drive 325 yards. Thus she concluded that the desert was much different than soft Canada, but good nonetheless.
As for Natalie’s thoughts on being Canadian, she loves it. The best part for her is “Wearing the red and white!!” Growing up Natalie loved playing volleyball in the winter. Golf was only a six month season, so every April she would step onto the course with a fresh mindset for the new season. In the spring she liked to, “hit the range with my shag bag, play a quick nine hole match at the Stratford Muni against my Dad on Friday nights for a slurpee from 711, and plan the tournaments for summer”. She credits Marlene Stewart Streit and her awards fund for helping her travel to a few American golf tournaments. Natalie tributes only getting to play golf six months of the year with helping her, “love the game for what it truly is, a game”.
And her thoughts on the Canadian Women’s Hockey team and waking up to watch the men win the hockey championship at 5:00 am in Mesa before her last round?… “Hearing the national anthem… gave me chills. We are winner!!”
For the record, we Americans might be a bit extreme from time to time, but on the whole we really do appreciate having the opportunity to share and work together in an ever growing global community. In other words, it’s awesome to have friends from all over. And certainly this Canuck is one to cheer for in 2014. Good luck Natalie!
A Wintry Mix
ONE Week! Our Symetra Tour’s season opener, The Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Arizona is only one weeks away! It was barely two months ago when many of us were battling it out at Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, but that was then and this is now. I guarantee that Mesa will have a plethora of improved golfers, new golfers, more experienced golfers, fitter golfers, and hungrier than ever golfers ready for the clean slate offered in 2014.
As for me, I won’t be joining the fray until the tour swings east to Lake Wales, Florida for its third tournament. As much as I would love to be out west in the Arizona sunshine, I have my reasons for waiting. For one, I’m a big believer in pacing yourself and playing the right amount of tournaments for you. Also, I’m thinking I’d like to spread out the business expenses more to the summer months when I haven’t been buried in cold and snow.
Yep, that brings me to my third point… although this winter has not stopped the golf in Carolina it certainly has slowed it. To quote the meteorologists…“well folks, we were hoping for some relief after last week but go ahead and hold onto your mittens because we are in for another wintry mix here”. And then, conceivably every state in the South says, “What!!!” and goes into a mini-panic. Schools close days before you even see the first snowflake. For those of you Yankees who have trudged five miles uphill in two feet of snow just to get to a pub… I’m not even joking. One and a half inches of snow was enough to close down Durham Public Schools for two and a half days. In defense of my sweet Caroline, the lack of snow trucks and salt makes travel tough especially on smaller roads.
Anyways, it has not been good golfing weather by any stretch of the imagination. Not to mention, working at the golf course grill has been pretty slow too. Let’s just say, they didn’t miss the two industrial sized cookie sheets I borrowed to go sledding. A word to the wise… holding onto a rope… trailing a car… on an industrial sized cookie sheet… really doesn’t work that well at all. But it is fun giving it a go...
My mom in Ohio grunts in disapproval at my Carolina snow stories. With temperatures dipping below zero on several occasions and a few winter storms bringing sleet and snow in Ohio, it has been a harsh winter for the Midwesterners. Talking to them on the phone, I almost catch cabin fever myself… I mean even Sochi, Russia is warmer than that right now!
But, Carolina has not been so bad. Let’s just say, I have gotten in my golf. After a couple weather cancellations I finally managed to get fit for brand new Titleist irons and woods. First of all a big thank you goes out to Andy Harris at Prestonwood Country Club for sticking with me until we got it done. Secondly, Trackman, the video swing monitor, really is unbelievable. I never even knew so many numbers existed… the spin, the launch, the attack angle, the right spin, the left spin, the swing speed, the angle of descent… truly impressive technology not designed for an English major but cool nonetheless. Lucky for me, Andy knew how to translate those numbers into the right club for my swing.
For those of you who have never had a fitting, I completely and totally recommend it. The amount of technology packed into any given shaft and club head is too much for the common person to comprehend without a little help.
Also, I’ve got to send some love to Titleist who gives me a great deal on golf clubs and golf balls. Heading into Trackman I was dead sure that Taylormade was going to give me another 20 yards on my drive but lo and behold… my 2010 D2 driver not only felt better but went about the same (much to my dismay… I was really dead set on finding an easy 20 yards…). Anyway, I’m officially a Titleist junky and Trackman is cool. Check it out!
As for the wintry mix, I’m not hating it one bit. I’ve made a snowman, played some cold flag football, coached a sixth grade basketball team at the Y (a good story for next time), watched some great Tar Heel b-ball action, worked out, and golfed. It’s been great. To quote a Disney classic here… “Do you want to build a snowman?... It doesn’t have to be a snowman!” Could Disney have picked a better winter to release Frozen? I think not— way to go Walt!