NCAA Regional – Texas, USA

The Cyclones earned the number 9 seed in the NCAA Regionals played in Austin, Texas between the 15th and 17th May.  This is the fourth time in the last six seasons that they have qualified.  The top five teams in the six regionals will qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held at Rich Harvest Farms at Sugar Grove in Illinois.  

The team have been striving towards making the NCAA Regionals all year.

The tournament was played on the University of Texas Golf Club which was home to current world number 6 Jordan Speith.  The Cyclones played well and were tied for fourth after the first round with Nick being tied for 10th individually.  They maintained there position after the second round and Nick moved up the leaderboard to second place.  

It was in the third round that the magic happened – the team produced a staggering 26 birdies and one eagle in their afternoon round, posting a score which was seven shots better than any other team in the field.  They finished third behind Oklahoma State and Texas and secured a berth at the NCAA Championships which is only the second time they have done this since the competition began in 1990.  The first time was in 2014 – Nick was in that team but was unfortunately injured (see the article below courtesy of the Des Moines Regsiter) so making the NCAA Championships in his final year was pretty special.

Nick played an integral part in the team’s success shooting a record setting 61 in the third round.  His 10 under shattered the school 18 hole record (the previous record was 64) and ISU’s 18 hole relation-to-par standard (previous record was 7 under).  He played the last 29 holes of the tournament at 14 under which saw him shoot the second lowest score on NCAA Division 1 this season.  The former competitive course record at the University of Texas Golf Club was a 65 – Nick beat this by four shots.

In Nick’s own words…..

Today was simply sensational. Before the round, I thought to myself that I was in a good position to end the event strong but my main focus was on the team – the guys still needed me to fire on all cyclinders if we wanted to advance.  We were on the bubble, this could be my last event as a Cyclone, a good finish could go a long way and so on – there were a lot of things going through my mind when I was warming up.  To come away from today having played the way I did – the best round of my life when the team needed it felt absolutely incredible.  I was so thrilled for the guys to post a 21 under and come away with an invitation to nationals – WHAT A DAY!

I was  interviewed after the final round and I alluded to how good the week leading up to regionals had been.  The team had such a good week of practice and quality time together.  We scheduled our own things and were really the entreprenuers of our own journey.  I am proud of how we operated in the lead up to the tournament.

I putted magnificently this week – probably the best putting performance I’ve had statistically – 100% inside 5 feet, 85% in the 5 to 8 foot range, 67% in the 9 to 15 foot range and 44% between 15 and 25 foot. Those numbers are world class and allowed me to post 14 under in my last 29 holes.

University of Texas Golf Club (UT Golf Club)

The University of Texas Golf Club is a 7,412 yard, par 71 championship-caliber golf course created by Bechtol Russell Golf Design. Built in the Texas Hill Country, the course overlooks Lake Austin and borders the Balcones Natural Wildlife Preserve, offering challenging shots and views that rival the best in Austin. 

The University of Texas Golf Club was a vision that became a reality when some of today’s most influential University supporters set out on a mission to build a permanent home for The UT Golf Teams and secondary home for The UT Tennis Teams. The University of Texas Golf Club celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013 and continues to celebrate its many accomplishments! 

‘Full circle’: Iowa State’s Nick Voke finally makes it to the NCAA Championships

By Tommy Birch, Des Moines Register

Nick Voke was riding a longboard down a hill when he turned to talk with Iowa State golf teammate Ruben Sondjaja, who was not far behind him.

That’s when his longboard found a pothole on Ames’ Beach Avenue.

When the board hit the hole, Voke went flying into the air. When he landed, he smacked his head against the ground, landed on his shoulder and was knocked unconscious.

“I woke up with a lot of machinery around me,” Voke said of the 2014 skateboarding accident. “It was a pretty scary moment, not really knowing what’s going on.”

When he first arrived at the hospital that night in May of 2014, doctors feared he’d suffered brain damage. They eventually learned he was seriously concussed and had broken his collarbone.

Just like that, Voke’s golf season was done. His shot at competing at regionals was over.

And all he could do was watch as his friends left to go compete in the NCAA Championships later that month.

“It was tough on all of us,” Iowa State men’s golf coach Andrew Tank said. “It was a really scary accident, to be honest.”
Voke would eventually get back on the golf course and become one of the most successful golfers in Iowa State history. His five career victories is a school record. Earlier this month, he carded a school-record 61 at the NCAA Austin Regional.
But one thing has continued to elude him: A shot to play in the NCAA Championships.

But the wait is finally over — the Iowa State senior will lead the Cyclones back to the NCAA Championships this weekend in Sugar Grove, Ill.

“It’s gone in full circle — from missing out my freshman year to now, it’s my last chance with the team, and getting it and succeeding — it’s a pretty cool feeling,” Voke said.

Finding Iowa State

A native of New Zealand, Voke scoured a college golf guide in his search for the right college to attend. He was still developing and knew that he wanted to land with a school that was on the rise. He looked up the email addresses of coaches on the golfing staffs of the schools ranked 50th to 100th.

He emailed a coach at every one of them, requesting information, and did some research on his own. Voke said about half the schools got back to him. Iowa State was one of them.

The Cyclones had already seen success in recruiting internationally. Duncan Croudis, who was also from New Zealand, had found his way to Ames. So, too, had Scott Fernandez, who hailed from Spain and would go on to have a successful career at Iowa State.

Voke, who knew of Fernandez’s success, emailed Tank, the men’s coach, and now-former assistant coach Patrick Datz and told them he was interested in the Cyclones and even wanted to become the next Scott Fernandez.

Datz had already been looking for players from New Zealand who might have had connections to Croudis. When Voke popped up on their radar, Datz and Tank dug into his scores and saw potential. What impressed them most was how he handled himself in their eventual Skype conversations with him.

“It was more based on his results that he’d had,” Tank said. “It looked like he was kind of on the upswing, so to speak. He was starting to play well, and I just was kind of impressed with him, as a person, in talking with him.”

Voke also liked what he was hearing. Sondjaja, who had played with him in Sydney, was already headed to Iowa State and had good things to say. Voke had never been to Ames, but was sold enough on the team to pack two suitcases and make the move to middle America.

“I came cold turkey,” Voke said. “I guess I was impressed with the coaches and the numerous conversations we had — and I was impressed with the facility that we had here.”

It didn’t take Tank long to realize that the Cyclones may have gotten a steal. The first time Tank saw Voke play in person was at the 2013 Iowa Open, before school started. Voke finished second in the amateur open division.

“Great golf swing,” Tank said. “Just the way he carried himself on the course, you could tell that he was a good player.”

Voke’s first season in Ames was a success. He tied for eighth in his Iowa State debut at the Gopher Invitational. Voke broke Iowa State’s rookie scoring mark with a 72.39 stroke average, led the team in sub-70 rounds, with eight, and was a Big 12 All-Tournament team pick. With regionals in May, he was on track to help the Cyclones get back to the NCAA Championsips.

The accident

With the last of his finals behind him in his first year at Iowa State, Voke and Sondjaja decided to celebrate. The two took to Ames’ roadways with their longboards, in search of the best hills. At around 11 p.m., they came to the one on Beach Avenue, near Jack Trice Stadium.

When Voke got to the bottom of the hill, he didn’t even see the pothole his longboard was headed for. After the two connected, Voke went soaring into the air. After hitting the ground, he was foaming at the mouth, had scratched his face and broken his collarbone. And he was out cold. Five hours later, he woke up in a hospital room, surrounded by machines.

“Seeing him in the hospital probably was one of the scariest moments, for me, as a coach,” Tank said.
Voke underwent surgery — a titanium plate and eight screws to repair the broken collarbone — and his stay in the hospital lasted days. His parents, who couldn’t get to Iowa State right away, knew just by the sound of his voice on the phone how bad things were.

“He was extremely sluggish,” his mom, Michelle Voke, said. “Forming sentences was really, really hard for him. And even having the phone conversation with him, he could only sort of last a couple of minutes just before he would end the conversation because it was just too tiring for him.”

And, emotionally, things would get even more difficult: Iowa State tied for fourth at the NCAA Columbia Regional later that month and qualified for its first NCAA Championship berth since 1953 — all without Voke by their sides. When the team hopped on a flight to Kansas, Voke was caught a ride to the airport to wish his teammates luck and see them off.

“It was just a sad moment, seeing them fly off and knowing that, ‘I’m stuck here, just doing my training, trying to get back to normal,’” Voke said.

Roughly four months went by before he could hit a driver. He saw a trainer five days a week to get work through the physical setbacks he’d suffered, and meditated to help him through the mental anguish he was going through from being kept from the golf course. He often wondered what would become of his golfing career.

Putting, even, would cause him pain at times.

“Just the impact of stroking the blade against the ball — it jolted my whole arm and I just stood there in pain,” Voke said. “(That’s) when I realized I had done some big damage and I needed to take it slow.”

Coming back

By the fall of 2014, Voke was healthy and hungry. He could finally unleash his swing and see what he could do again. That season, he won his first career tournament at the VCU Shootout. His second tournament title of the year came with a 212 at the General Hackler Championship. He was again named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team.

During the 2015-16 season, he won his third career tournament title with a 205 at the NIT. He ended that season with his third Big 12 All-Tournament team honor. But despite the success, something was missing from Voke’s resume — every day, he would walk past a wall in Iowa State’s facility that listed every golfer to compete at the NCAA Championships, where Voke could see the names of his teammates.

Knowing that his name could have been up there was hard to stomach.

“Getting to the National Championships has been a goal of mine for a long time,” he said.

After missing out on his chance as a freshman, he worked to make sure that another opportunity would come.

“He’s even more driven now,” Michelle Voke said.

That drive was easy to see during his historic senior season. His 71.84 career stroke average currently ranks No. 1 in school history, and he’s on pace to break the single-season school record for scoring mark. The culmination of his season came on May 17, when Voke fired a school record 61 at the NCAA Austin Regional at the UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas.

Voke helped the Cyclones to a third-place finish there, assuring them a spot in the NCAA Championships again for the first time since 2014. As he walked off the course, he high-fived and hugged coach Tank and was greeted by his teammates.

“I think it really hit me after the round,” Tank said. “I thought about it a little bit, but I got emotional after the round — just thinking how far he’s come, as a freshman, and just how much he’s grown, as a person.”

Voke’s family followed all the action online from back in New Zealand.

“I knew it would happen because he’s really driven,” Michelle said.

After three years of working and waiting, Voke will finally tee off at the tournament this weekend. While he’s finally achieved his goal, Voke said he’s kept the longboard over the years as a reminder of everything he’s been through.

“The coaches want to burn it, but I kind of want to frame it just to remind me what I went through,” Voke said. “It was a pretty hard moment for myself and my family. But I think the longboard will stay around as just a memory.”

Austin Regional: Iowa State goes low behind Nick Voke’s 61, Oklahoma State wins

By Brently Romine, Golf Week

Iowa State, which was ninth at the Big 12 Championship, was led by Nick Voke, who fired a 10-under 61 in the final round to capture medalist honors at 14 under, five shots ahead of Texas’ Doug Ghim.

Voke’s final round included an eagle, eight birdies and no bogeys. The previous course competitive record was 65.

“I thought a couple under would give me a chance, but as I went on with the round, the birdies kept on dropping,” Voke said. “… These days are few and far between. I knew my game was trending and this could be coming. To come up with a round like this in the regional is something pretty special.”

Said Iowa State head coach Andrew Tank: “Today he was on fire. It was cool for him to do it on the big stage. This is really special for him because he missed out on playing with us in 2014 at nationals and he can experience it now.”

Three other Cyclones shot 68 or better. Iowa State had to throw out a 72.

Video Links

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit association which regulates athletes of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations, and individuals. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 450,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2014, the NCAA generated almost a billion dollars in revenue. 80 to 90% of this revenue was due to the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. This revenue is then distributed back into various organizations and institutions across the United States.

Inter-collegiate sports began in the US in 1852 when crews from Harvard University and Yale University met in a challenge race in the sport of rowing. As rowing remained the preeminent sport in the country into the late-1800s, many of the initial debates about collegiate athletic eligibility and purpose were settled through organizations like the Rowing Association of American Colleges and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association. As other sports emerged, notably football and basketball, many of these same concepts and standards were adopted. Football, in particular, began to emerge as a marquee sport, but the rules of the game itself were in constant flux and often had to be adapted for each contest.

The NCAA dates its formation to two White House conferences convened by President Theodore Roosevelt to “encourage reforms” to college football practices in the early 20th century, which had resulted in repeated injuries and deaths and “prompted many college and universities to discontinue the sport.”  Following those White House meetings, Chancellor Henry MacCracken of New York University organized a meeting of 13 colleges and universities to initiate changes in football playing rules; at a follow-on meeting on December 28, 1905 in New York, 62 higher-education institutions became charter members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS).  The IAAUS was officially established on March 31, 1906, and took its present name, the NCAA, in 1910.

Over the last two decades recruiting international athletes has become a growing trend among NCAA institutions. For example, most German athletes outside of Germany are based at US universities. For many European athletes, the American universities are the only option to pursue an academic and athletic career at the same time. Many of these students come to the US with high academic expectations and aspirations.


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Big 12 Championships – Kansas, USA

The Iowa State men’s golf team played in the Big 12 Championship in late April.  The tournament was held on the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Kansas.

This was the fourth and final Big 12 Championship for Nick – he is in his Senior year at Iowa State and will graduate in May.  The team have had a stellar season – they won three tournaments and were runner up twice cementing a number 46 national ranking by Golfweek.  The three victories is the most by a Cyclones squad since the 1996 – 97 season.

Unfortunately the cold temperatures and high winds at Prairie Dunes did not favour the Cyclones and they finished 9th out of the 10 teams.  Nick played quite well tying for 13th – he narrowly missed his fourth straight top 10 performance at the Big 12 Championships by a stroke.  Nick had rounds of 76, 71, 75 and 74 for a total of 296.  The winner was from Kansas and had a four round total of 287.

Texas won the tournament by a stroke from Oklahoma.

In Nick’s own words……..

I struck the ball beautifully in the first two rounds – I felt like I had my driver on a string and my ball flight was strong and in control.  Unfortunately the ball striking wasn’t quite so good in the next two rounds.  However, I didn’t have any wasted or any really wayward shots off the tee.  The conditions were tough and I was very pleased that I only had one double bogey all week when there were plenty to be had out there.

I had to get creative out there because the conditions called for shots that weren’t basic and straight forward – it was into the wind and up and over areas with a lot of slope.

My putting was the poorest part of my game this week – there were a lot of double breaking putts within 10 feet which is not something I have put a lot of time into.

Practice round

Prairie Dunes Country Club

Emerson Carey, founder of Carey Salt Company, was an avid golfer and had traveled the world with his family, playing top ranked courses in the early 1900s including Scotland in the 1920s. Carey and his four sons became a staple in the Hutchinson golf community, contributing to the development of several courses in the area. In 1935 the Carey family commissioned architectural genius Perry Maxwell (Southern Hills, Colonial Country Club, redesign of Pine Valley and Augusta National) to design a masterpiece. Thus, the idea of Prairie Dunes was born.

Maxwell’s response to the 480 acre canvas for his masterpiece, “There are 118 holes here, and all I have to do is eliminate 100”.

Thus, construction began on Prairie Dunes. The course was molded from the Kansas land using 18 horses and mules, Fresno scrapers and wheelbarrows. The only mechanized equipment used were Model T and Model A Fords used to bring the workers to the site. Greens and fairways came to life by teams dragging plows and scoops, while roots of native grass and weeds were removed by hand-one wheelbarrowful at a time.

Prairie Dunes opened the first nine holes on September 13, 1937. Twenty years later, in 1957, The Dunes opened the second nine holes, designed by Perry Maxwell’s son, Press.

The Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is a ten-school collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I for all sports; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A), the higher of two levels of NCAA Division I football competition. Its ten members, located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia, include eight public and two private Christian schools. The Big 12 includes 23 sports – 10 in which men compete in and 13 in which women compete in.

The Big 12 was formerly composed of 12 schools, hence its name: it was formed in 1996 when four schools from the collapsing Southwest Conference (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor) joined with the pre-existing Big Eight Conference. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were grouped with the four newcomers in the “Big 12 South”, while the remaining 6 teams of the Big 8 (Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa State) formed the “Big 12 North”.

The conference’s current 10-campus makeup resulted from the 2010 to 2013 Big 12 Conference realignment, in which Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference, Colorado joined the Pac-12, and Missouri and Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference. Texas Christian University and West Virginia joined from the Mountain West and Big East Conferences respectively to offset two of the departing schools, bringing the conference to its current strength.

The current members of the Big 12 are University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, University of Kansas, West Virginia University, Oklahoma State University,, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, Texas Tech University and Iowa State University.

The Big 12 Conference, like others involved in the realignment, has kept its name primarily for marketing purposes; the conference has high name recognition and remains one of the Power Five conferences which are considered the primary contenders to produce a College Football Playoff champion team in any given year. Attempts to rename the Big 12 to reflect its current strength would lead to confusion with the current Big Ten Conference (which currently has 14 teams). The Big 12 is also considered one of the Premier Seven Conferences in basketball.

Like the Southwest Conference, the Big 12 footprint has a small population base. It has the smallest population base by far of the contract conferences. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa have a combined population of 37.8 million.

Conference revenue comes mostly from television contracts, bowl games, the NCAA, merchandise, licensing and conference-hosted sporting events. The revenue for the Big 12 conference in 2015 was USD252 million.

In 2015 Iowa State University earnt USD66 million in revenue which was in line with the expenses for the same year. The average spend per student for the 2015 year was USD129,000.

Revenue includes ticket sales, contributions and donations, rights/licensing, student fees, school funds and all other sources including TV income, camp income, food and novelties. Total expenses includes coaching/staff, scholarships, buildings/ground, maintenance, utilities and rental fees and all other costs including recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, conference dues and insurance costs. 

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Hawkeye Invitational – Iowa, USA

The Iowa State Cyclones were closer to home when they contested the Hawkeye Invitational on the 15th and 16th April at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa.

Nick made history Sunday afternoon by earning medalist honors at the Hawkeye Invitational with a 54 hole total of 207 – he had rounds of 68, 67 and 72.  Nick’s victory was the fourth of his career, tying All-American Scott Fernandez (2012-15) for the most individual tournament titles by a Cyclone.  Nick now has 17 career top 10 finishes, the third most in school history.

The Iowa State Cyclones finished fourth in the team race at 868.  Texas Tech who are ranked 11th in the USA came out on top with a combined team score of 855.

In Nick’s own words…..

Winning is hard. It has been a while in between victories for me – the ‘in-between period’ has given me a better appreciation for how difficult it is to actually win. So to hit quality shot after quality shot and come away with a trophy feels really good!

This week I realised that I dont need to play perfect to put myself in contention to win.  Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of brilliant shots out there, but there was also a lot of mediocre ones as well.  I put myself in a postion to win with a combination of execution, a sharp short game, staying patient and handling adversity.

I struck the ball pretty well all week.  I hit 7 greens in regulation inside 15 feet which gave a me plenty of birdie opportunites. 

I also putted much better from 5 to 15 feet this week holing 57% of my putts between 5 and 9 feet and 42% between 9 and 15 feet.  I averaged 8 putts from this distance and holed half of them per round.  I think this was the main reason I won – I hit the ball close often and then rolled the rock when I needed to get up and down. 

Finkbine Golf Course

The golf course is named after W.O. Finkbine who donated the land to the University of Iowa. It is a scenic golf course and from the championship tee stretches over 7,200 yards of rolling Iowa terrain. The course has played host to many NCAA tournaments over the years – it plays to a par 72 with a USGA rating of 74.6 and a slope rating of 134. 

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Seattle Redhawk Invitational – Washington State, USA

The Iowa State Cyclones travelled to Seattle in Washington State to play in the Seattle Redhawk Invitational which was played at Chambers Bay, the course used for the 2015 US Open.  As you can imagine the team were pretty excited to be playing here.

The excitement was further added to when they won the tournament by a shot – Freshman Tripp Kinney had an eagle on the par 5 18th hole which played a crucial part in the win.

The victory adds to ISU’s season titles at the Badger Invitational and the National Invitation Tournament, marking the first time in 20 years (1996-97) the Cyclones have tallied three tournament victories in a season.

Nick tied for 15th shooting rounds of 73, 71 and 73.

In Nick’s own words…..

Getting a team victory was so sick!  I think this was the first time that we all went there knowing that we had the goods to dominate the others teams. It was so cool to see Tripp finish the way he did, he deserved it after all the work he put it

I enjoyed stepping it up a notch before the event. I told the blokes that my intensity in the week leading up to the event was really good.  I put more emphasis into handling adversity because I knew that would happen a lot at Chambers Bay.

I beleive I embraced the adversity really well out there. I got a few dubious bounces that could have really affected me but my mindset going into the event ensured that I wasn’t going to let that dictate the way I approached things. I think this whole mindset radiated throughout the team – coach Chad mentioned that he could see it affecting some of the other teams but not us. We were there on a mission!

I drove the ball really well out there. It was easy to hit fairways but I felt like my control over the golf ball with the big dog in hand was much improved.  It was the first event in a long time where I didn’t have any wasted shots off the tee! I hit 80% of the fairways and had a 98% success rate with good drives which is pretty nice.

My speed control was also phenomenal! I think I only had one 3 putt which I was very proud of.   In saying that my putting numbers weren’t the greatest – I had placed a bit more emphasis on holing putts from 5 to 15 feet but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Chambers Bay Golf Course

Chambers Bay Golf Course was opened for play in June 2007.  It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr.

Just as the game of golf itself has a rich history, so does the land on which Chambers Bay was created. The Chambers Creek Properties is comprised of more than 950 acres located along the shores of the Puget Sound in University Place, Washington. While Pierce County’s ownership of the property has been fairly recent, the making of the surrounding land began to take shape more than 200 years ago.

The area first found use as a rock quarry stemming as far back as the Steilacoom Indian Tribe and the first European settlers in 1832. Over the years the Chambers Creek Properties area has been used as a location for a paper mill, a major industrial center, multiple lumber companies, a railroad center, a sand and gravel mine, a bus barn, a regional wastewater treatment plant, a preservation and recreational area, and today, as a world class 18-hole championship golf course.
What is Links Golf?

Many golfers use “links” and “golf course” interchangeably. But the term “links” is actually a specific type of golf course. Linksland describes the sandy windswept dunes and fertile farmlands found between the North Sea and the Scottish town of St. Andrews where the game was first developed 500 years ago. Some of the most notable examples of traditional links courses include St. Andrews Old Course, Royal Troon Golf Club, Carnoustie Golf Links and Ballybunion Old Course.

True traditional links courses, including Chambers Bay, share several geographic characteristics:

A links course is built along a major body of water

A links course usually has very few trees, if any

A links course resides on sandy soil that drains easily

A links course has a natural open layout where the native landscape, wind and rain play a major factor

A links course features ground contours that provide remarkable inherent undulations and slopes in the fairways and greens

A links course rarely has any internal water features

A links course’s rough areas feature pure seaside grasses

The golf traditionalist can appreciate the almost mystical quality that comes with playing a links course. Experiencing the game’s highs and lows while traversing rugged dunes and natural seaside beauty sets links golf apart from its inland cousin. Some believe that links golf embodies a spirit, a state of mind, an attitude or a feeling; at Chambers Bay, we tend to agree.

Silver Signature Sanctuary

Chambers Bay was certified on August 14, 2007 by Audubon International as a Silver Signature Sanctuary, the first golf course in both the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest. Signature certification is awarded only to new developments which are designed, constructed, and maintained according to Audubon International’s precise planning standards and environmental disciplines. Chambers Bay and its dedicated staff continue to manage and protect water quality and wildlife habitat on the property as part of an ongoing commitment to the environment.

The US Open 2015

The 2015 U.S. Open Championship was marked by its many firsts. It was the first U.S. Open in the 115 year history of the championship to be played in the Pacific Northwest. The first U.S. Open played on fine fescue putting surfaces. The first Open since Hazeltine in 1970 to be contested on a new course. The first Open in which a hole was played as a par-4 one day and a par-5 the next, where the range in tee placements on a single hole could extend its length by 100 yards or greater. The first Open televised by Fox Sports, revolutionizing the way the game is viewed. And the last Open where the anchored putting stroke was within the Rules of Golf.

21-year-old Jordan Spieth walked away as the youngest player, and only the sixth in history, to win both the Masters and the US Open in the same year.

The US Amateur 2010

As the first U.S. Amateur in history to be played on a public course, and the first ever hosted in the state of Washington, Chambers Bay delivered on its promise exactly the way the USGA hoped it would. The firm and fast layout of the links-style course requires skill and careful course management rather than sheer power from players. The same is true of its caretakers, whose approach is beautifully simple – less waste of water and other natural resources, reduced usage of chemicals, and greater reliance on sustainability. When it comes to course conditioning brown is both beautiful and brutal, and links-inspired golf is the principle of working with nature, not against it.

For the 36-hole championship match held on the last day, more than 5,000 spectators followed the final twosome of Peter Uihlein, the Oklahoma State star, and David Chung, the Stanford junior. They were appropriately the No. 1 and No. 4 ranked amateurs in the world. On his 21st birthday, alongside the railroad tracks and banks of Puget Sound, Uihlein won the Amateur on the 16th hole, defeating Chung 4 and 2 for the title in its 110th version.

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ASU Thunderbird Invitational – Arizona, USA

The Iowa State Cyclones played in the Arizona State University (ASU) Thunderbird Invitational in Arizona on the 18th and 19th March.  The team finished sixth out of sixteen teams with Nick finishing tied for 12th with rounds of 68, 69 and 72.  Nick has carded a sub-70 round in eight of his last 11 rounds.

In Nicks own words……..

I still have plenty to work on – my putting within 5 feet was rock solid but from 10 feet plus it is still not as sharp as I would like it to be.  I hit a lot of quality mid iron shots with a high draw which I couldn’t really hit before.  In summary I feel like I played well enough to compete but couldn’t quite get things going due to my 80 to 140 yard range shots being a bit off.

ASU Karsten Golf Course

The ASU Karsten Golf Course is a 7,002-yard, par-70 classic Pete Dye design reminiscent of a Scottish links course. ASU Karsten has attracted the attention of prominent NCAA golf events and coveted tournaments such as the Phoenix Thunderbirds and PING Invitational. Managed by OB Sports Golf Management, the ASU Karsten Golf Course is also home to the Arizona State University (ASU) men’s and women’s NCAA golf teams, both multiple national championship winners. 

The Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. Consisting of 55 “active” members and more than 250 “life” members, The Thunderbirds host the Waste Management Phoenix Open; the best attended golf tournament in the world, which to date has raised more than USD100 million for Valley charities, including The First Tee of Phoenix. With its unmatched fan participation and rich history dating back more than 80 years, the Waste Management Phoenix Open has gained legendary status for being a unique stop on the PGA TOUR. 

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General Hackler Championship – South Carolina, USA

The Iowa State men’s golf team played in the General Hackler Championships at the Dunes Golf Club in Myrtle Beach on the 11th and 12th March.  The tournament was restricted to 36 holes after bad weather saw the last round cancelled.  The team finished 11th out of 15 teams with Nick finishing tied for 27th with rounds of 78 and 69.  The field consisted of nine teams currently ranked in the GolfStat top 50.

In Nick’s own words…

We had a week lead up to the Hackler in Myrtle Beach after landing back home from Arizona. We were very aware of the amazing accomplishment the week before but were also cautious at the same time. In the fall – we had won our first event of the year and then had one of our worst performances the event after, it’s an easy trap to fall into and we were adamant that it wouldn’t happen again.

In that week, we really encapsulated what it means to pay the price. We went straight back to work and even had a couple of morning practice sessions before our 8am classes. It was our mission to prepare like the week before and give ourselves the best chance to go back-to-back.

Unfortunately, things didn’t eventuate the way we had envisioned. We got off to a really poor start, most of us doubled our first holes and we weren’t able to recover. I was a little shocked at our scores in all honesty. We knew the golf course was challenging but there aren’t any excuses to be in the position we found ourselves in after the first round. The second round was much better but because the third round got rained out, we found ourselves towards the bottom of the leaderboard.

 We had a couple of team meetings to talk about what had happened and there were some common themes that we are going to look into in a bit more depth, however, poor performances can also come out of the blue and we are cognizant of the fact that its golf and stuff like this happens.

 We fly straight to Arizona for a golf tournament we won last year and feel very comfortable around. The tournament starts on the weekend but because it is spring break, we get to spend the whole week down there! It’s going to be awesome, average of about 35 degrees each day with not much wind and plenty to do. Time to slip, slop, slap and get back to work with the lads!

The Dunes Golf Club at Myrtle Beach

The Dunes Golf Club began in 1947 as a dream by local Myrtle Beach businessmen and women at a small fishing cabin located on Singleton Swash overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On a cool October day, these visionaries discussed the possibilities of constructing a private golf club on the 200+ acres surrounding the “Chapin Cabin” site.  

After much discussion, hard work, a few setbacks, and some fortunate breaks, the Dunes Golf Club was incorporated in May of 1948. A little known architect named Robert Trent Jones was commissioned to design the layout and 65+ years later, there is no doubt that Robert Trent Jones is regarded as one of the all-time greatest golf course architects ever to have touched the earth.  

Now after six decades of history and tradition, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club stands as a “Top 100 Golf Course” in virtually every major magazine ranking. The Club has played host to many PGA Tours, Senior PGA Tours, Women’s, Amateur, National, and State events.  

The course has seen some minor renovations throughout the years but has retained the original essence of the design, proving that the excellence of the layout would stand up to the numerous industry changes over the decades. The Dunes Club currently has over 750 members and is private. 

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National Invitational Tournament – Arizona, USA

The Iowa State men’s golf team played in the National Invitational Tournament hosted by Arizona State University that finished on the 28th February.  The tournament was played at the Omni Tucson Catalina Golf Course in Arizona.  

The team won the tournament beating the hosts by 5 strokes with a three round total of 832.  This is their second title this season.

Nick finished in a tie for second with rounds of 66, 68 and 69.  This is his 16th top 10 finish and his total of 203 tied for the third lowest 54 hole score in school history.  The team score of 832 ties for the second best 54 hole tally in school history.

Iowa State head coach Andrew Tank had the following to say after the victory “This is a really special win for the program.  Our guys have been putting in a lot of work and it’s great to see it pay off.  We had a poor start to the spring after a succesful fall.  The kids stepped up this week and they have been working harder.  To go wire to wire is very rewarding.  It says a lot about the guys on our team.  With our starting five, you never know who is going to be the guy to go low.  We feel everyone is capable of shooting in the 60s.  That’s what you need to compete at this level.”

Nick’s team mate and fellow countryman Denzel Ieremia also finished in the top 10 by tying for fourth on 204.  He also shot three rounds in the 60’s – 68, 67 and 69.

In Nick’s own words….

After a quick turnaround from Palm Springs, we made our way down to Arizona for the National Invitational Tournament hosted by the University of Arizona. We went down there with a specific purpose – we knew we were playing well and that good things could happen if we prepared well enough. There was still a bit of pain among the lads from the week prior, we knew that if we got ourselves in the same positon as last week (leading with a few holes to go) then we knew how to handle ourselves and how to execute. There was an extra level of intensity and purpose among the guys – we were hungry.

 We prepared for this event like no event before. We truly knew what we were there to do – absolute commitment to our plans and executing them with grit and fight. We ticked off all the boxes and gave ourselves the best chance to play well. I was really proud of our preparation leading into the event.

A cool moment we shared was after the 36-hole day – where we sat around the dinner table with a small margin at the top of the leaderboard. A common theme that went around the table was that our job had just begun; we were in a position we wanted to be in AND NOW it was time to live up to our philosophies and express ourselves – when everything was on the line and people were chasing us. We handled the extra pressure amazingly because we were prepared for it – there was no surprise or confusion among the guys that we were in that position, we had worked for it and we wanted it.

Looking back on the team victory – I can comfortably say that the best thing about the whole week was the way our team operated in the days leading up to the event. Our preparation was world-class and something we will try to replicate throughout the rest of the spring. 

Roll Clones.


Omni Tucson National Catalina Golf Course

The Catalina Golf Course is the host to over 30 PGA Tour events and is the annual host of the University of Arizona Invitational.  The course has been selected as one of Golf Digest’s “75 Best Golf Resorts in North America.”  It is parkland style with 8 sparkling lakes and 80 bunkers. The 18th hole iss considered to be one of the finest and most challenging finishing holes on the PGA Tour.

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