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The road life doesn’t bother the Lady Vaqueros golf team

Hole 18 at Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Course in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2018.

Sarah Maninger, Staff Writer

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By the end of the 2018 season, the Santa Barbara City College women’s Golf team will have traveled nearly 2,128 miles to get to and from their tournaments and matches but they don’t mind.

The closest college on their schedule this year is College of the Canyons. They host their tournaments in Fillmore 54 miles from campus. Moorpark College, the next closest team on the roster, hosts their tournaments at Simi Hills Golf Course, 74 miles from away.

Tournaments like the Desert Classic and the North-South Invitational are hosted even further away, in Palm Springs and Morro Bay.

The Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Club is home away from home for the Lady Vaqueros weekly practice rounds.

The team competes all over central and southern California, but they enjoy the team bonding and frequent stays at inns and hotels around the state. Freshman Alexa Bleth likes the challenge of playing at courses that she is not familiar with. “I don’t mind traveling,” she said. She continued to talk about how the lack of consistency is good for the game.

In the Professional Golfers Association, golfers don’t play at the same courses all the time, they have to learn how to play anywhere. It’s a lesson that is pivotal for all competitive golfers to learn and something that Bleth has realized, and began to admire.

Sophomore Kayla Karst agreed, “I like it [the traveling] because it gives me the opportunity to play more courses,” Karst expressed. “I always look forward to Mondays because Mondays are the days we travel.”

The course lets them practice early in the morning, which helps accommodate the girls class schedules. A Western State Conference Tournament took place there earlier in September.

River Course at the Alisal in Solvang stands as the team’s home for competition and will host the Western State Conference Finals at the end of the month. Sitting amongst the Santa Ynez Mountains and following the flow of the Santa Ynez River, the course has some of the most breathtaking fairways in central California.

Head Coach Chuck Melendez is a fan of playing in Solvang, as well as the makeup of the schedule as a whole. “I like moving all around and seeing the various courses,” he said, in agreement with his players. The team plays a majority of their home matches at Alisal River over Santa Barbara Municipal because not only is it where they play their league championship matches, it also hosts the Southern California Regionals, giving the team an edge in competition.

Golf courses, themselves, are each unique in their own way. Each course provides golfers with new challenges and new opportunities for success. Stephanie Farouze, a sophomore on the team, also enjoys traveling for games and practice, “It’s a great opportunity to play golf in different places that you wouldn’t go to on your own,” she said.

The Women’s Golf Team here at City College is well-traveled and has seen many of the lively landscapes that make up California, and they have fun with it. “Chuck drives, I sleep,” Bleth said, smiling. Though the squad travels far to play a game that they could easily play here in Santa Barbara, it brings them closer as a team and provides new challenges that they can learn from, simply by hopping in a van and driving out of town.

The Lady Vaqueros will play their next Western State Conference match at Antelope Valley Country Club on Monday, October 15.

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