My day starts around 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14 as I head to Highlands to hit some range balls with my teammate, Stone, before our flight. This really helps me before tournaments to dial in my distances and make sure my driver is going straight.
“I love hitting the range before we go because it makes me feel so much better about my game,” Stone said.
As a member of the sport club golf team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I see how great this club is from the inside. The club is serious about golf, winning two national titles in the last 10 years, and it’s also a place to join if you just like to play golf and hang out with the guys.
This year, we were invited to the National Club Golf Invitational in Hilton Head, S.C. Our club has been to nationals before and won the championship in 2016. We were so excited and all geared up and ready to go for the biggest tournament we had all played in years.
I then headed home to my house in the North Bottoms to make some lunch and pack for our trip. Around 4 p.m., Stone and I hopped into his Mercedes-Benz and headed off to Eppley Airfield.
Once we arrived at the airport, it was time to check our gold club and go through security. One of my teammates had actually never been on a flight before so I helped him out during his first time in an airport.
“I can’t believe how big this place is,” said my teammate, Kobe. “I never thought there was going to be so much to do before boarding a plane.”
Once we had made it through security, we all went and got snacks and were ready to board the flight. My teammates, Caden, Sam and Ryan Duffy, showed up about 20 minutes before the flight was going to take off, because Ryan forgot his charger at home.
Eventually, we all made it and everyone was aboard the flight heading to Atlanta airport where we would be connecting for our next flight.
A few things about the Atlanta airport:
For one, this airport is one of the biggest in the country and you have to know where you are going to even find your next flight.
Another thing is that they only give you a layover of about 50 minutes and that is barely enough time to make it to your next gate if your flight is one time.
Our flight was indeed on time and we were lucky enough to step off our flight and have our next gate in the same terminal we arrived at. We all sat down and did some homework and talked about how well we were going to play in Hilton Head while waiting for our next flight to board.
Club golf has been one of my favorite things at UNL. It has gotten me back into the competitive spirit of the game and got me back out one the course much more than I used to when I first started going to school. Everyone on the team pretty much has the same idea when it comes to club golf.
My teammate Ryan, the club president said. one of the best decisions of his life was to join the UNL sport club golf team. Everyone on the team acts like brothers to each other and traveling for tournaments is one of my favorite things to do.
We eventually would make it to Hilton Head at about midnight and had our taxi driver waiting for us at the airport when we arrived.
It was about a 50-minute drive to the Omni Resort where the tournament directors had rooms for the weekend.
Finally, we had made it to the hotel and had a tee time the next morning at 10 a.m., so being the smart individuals we are, we all stayed up ’til about 3 a.m. playing Rocket League on the hotel TV.
I woke up Saturday morning ready to go. We all put on our polos and hats and headed to the driving range before the tournament started. I think the coolest thing about this tournament was just how many people I met from all around the US.
There were players from California all the way to Pennsylvania, and everyone had their own personality on the course.
For the first round, me and Stone were paired together like we had been for the four tournaments before because of how much we love to play together. We were playing with guys from Kansas University, and they ended up being some of the best guys I have played with this year.
Through the first nine holes, Stone and I were not playing our best golf and were getting ourselves in trouble a lot on the course. I was not able to keep my tee shots straight, and this caused me to have a lot of tree trouble on many of my second shots.
This course at Palmetto Dunes was definitely one of the hardest courses I have played in a while, and you could see that with the scores posted at the end of the day.
We were all given lunch vouchers from the organizers of the tournament, so it was nice to be able to come into the clubhouse after a long round to get a free lunch.
After everyone on our team had finished for the day, it was time to look at our scores and talk about what we need to do better in the next round.
We were sitting in third place as a team after day one and my teammate, Andrew Martin, shot a 69 and was leading the tournament after day one.
“It was one of my best rounds of the year,” Andrew said. “I was able to find fairways and make a lot of putts I shouldn’t have made.”
That was not the case for most of my team as we all struggled the first day but were happy to be sitting where we were as a team on the leaderboard.
We all then walked back to our hotel, showered and changed for the night.
Downstairs at the hotel was one of the best restaurants I have been to. They had so many good options and the team was very excited to eat after our long day of golf.
We watched college football on the flat screen TVs and talked to all of the other teams in the tournament. That night we also went and played mini golf as a team where I came out on top with a score of three under par.
After mini golf, we all came back and sat in the hot tub for a while before going to our rooms and going to bed so we could all have a good round the next day.
Sunday golf is what every golfer dreams of because that is the day where champions are made.
We all walked to the range like we had done the day before but all of us just seemed to be more focused.
Me and Stone were again paired together for this round and we were playing with Florida State. These guys had a lot of skill and it was tough for me and Stone to keep pace with them the entire round.
We both started out slow but got hot around the eighth hole on the back nine and were both able to come in with lower scores than the day before. I think both of us were proud of how we played that day.
After the round was over, all of the teams gathered around the scoreboard to see which team had won it all and which individual player had one.
Sadly, we had moved down two places in the rankings and took fifth place overall. Andrew had not had his best day either and ended up losing the tournament by one shot to Florida State.
We all were just happy to be there, though. The course and everyone we played with was too great to be upset about the rounds we had all just had; I think we were all happy with our fifth place finish.
We all then left the course for the last time and headed back to the hotel to watch some NFL football and chill for the rest of the night.
The next morning, we had about eight hours until our flight and we needed to kill some time. What better way to kill time than going to the beach?
We stayed at the beach for a while before heading to the airport around 4 p.m. Our Uber’s picked us up from the Omni, and we were on our way back to Lincoln.
We arrived at the Savannah airport in Georgia and had to go through security again so we could board the plane. We had some time to kill so everyone sat down and did their homework that was due that day or the day after.
Our flight was delayed one hour, so we all knew that getting to our connection in Atlanta was going to be a tough task. We landed in Atlanta about 15 minutes before our flight and were very stressed out thinking we had to spend the night in the airport.
I however was not going to let that happen as I burst off the plane and sprinted as fast as I could to the next gate.
I made it just in time and waited for everyone else who was sitting behind me on the plane to get to the gate.
We all got on the flight and everyone drank a lot of water after our half mile sprint. The flight from Atlanta was about two hours and it was about midnight again when we touched down in Omaha.
We got off the plane and went to grab our bags before eventually getting the car and heading home.
“This tournament is something I will never forget, spending time in Hilton Head playing golf with you guys has been the best trip ever, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Kobe said.