Date: November 04, 2013
Author: Cathleen Santoso

Cathleen Santoso: A whole new world

It has been over a month and a half now since I have become a part of the Oregon Women’s Golf team – and what an experience it has been so far. I spent the first week officially meeting the team and coaches through practice together at various local golf courses. I received a load of new Nike gear, (the perks of going to a school that Phil Knight – co founder of Nike – attended) from golf clothes to bright neon runners which will only continue to grow as the years come by. Our first trip included two tournaments, one in Michigan and another in New Mexico. The competing team is made up of 5 girls out of the 8 available and this is generally chosen through qualifying. Qualifying is when the whole team plays 18/36 holes and the best 3 scores are automatically counted to travel while the last 2 spots are determined by the coaches. This method of selection varies from different schools around the states. I had played well enough to be part of the competing team and it was a great start to my college golfing career. I believe the competition within the team is effective and it keeps me on my toes all year round as opposed to just certain periods of tournaments . I learnt many new pointers from the first trip and the number one difference I can point out is that I am not only playing for myself, but for the team. It has really taught me the value of one shot and that even if the day isn t going your way individually, there are four other girls who may be counting on the amount of shots you re making. Remember that every shot counts! Depending on what tournament my Coach will choose, each field is made up of 10-16 various schools. The winning team is the one which has the lowest accumulated 4/5 best scratch scores – there is no matchplay unlike the Australian Interstate Matches. College is a whole different schedule to school with shorter and more condensed classes that move at a faster pace. I am learning the life skill of time management and scheduling where I have to try and balance school academics, golf practice and having my own social down time. For example: in a general week of school I have my classes on Monday-Friday which range between 8-11am, I then sometimes have tutoring from 11-12, enjoy lunch before heading out to practice which can finish between 5-6, enjoy another meal for dinner (maybe sneak in a shower) before tutoring starts again from 7-9. I also have two 6am workouts on the weekdays. It’s a crazy, busy and packed schedule but that s the life of a student athlete. It will definitely ease off next year as I don t have to participate in the eight hours per week of compulsory tutoring schedule – though it is probably the most beneficial time! For my freshman year (first year) I am staying in the college dorms that are about a 5-15 minute walk to campus. It’s a whole new environment and living in a massive complex with hundreds of other students is a great way to meet new friends. This is a major difference that isn t really available or emphasised at University back at home. I love being here at the University of Oregon and I am so grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me. The ability to be able to study and earn a degree, play golf, travel around as a team and live in another country is an amazing experience and I encourage everyone to look into college golf in the USA. Cathleen Santoso is a former Golf Australia National Junior Squad Member who is currently in America attending The University of Oregon.