Our week long trip to Ireland has ended and it has been a wonderful experience. As one of the parents who was fortunate enough to make the trip, it was a great opportunity to spend time with not only my son, but with a great bunch of young men. The kids were polite and articulate and represented Washington & Lee well. When given an opportunity to play one of the top courses in the world for a second time, the majority of the kids opted instead to do a tour of the Muckross Estate and learn about Irish history. Many mothers back home would clearly have been proud. I too was initially impressed with the number who decided to opt for an intellectual endeavor until I realized that the Muckross tour started much later in the morning than when the bus was leaving for the golf course. This enabled the intellectuals to sleep in after a late night out in Killarney.
The golf was incredible and the courses were challenging. Fortunately none of the fathers are old enough to shoot their age, but when the wind was blowing 45 miles an hour off the ocean it sometimes felt like we might shoot our weight. With some of the putts we gave to each other and the generous score keeping, we were all glad the W&L Honor System didn’t apply to us, at least not on the golf course. There were stretches during the week when all of the parents played well. One challenge was that there were virtually no electric carts and many of the courses we played had portions of the course that were so steep even the sheep wouldn’t go there. So not surprisingly the most common words heard on the course from the dads were “hey does anyone have any more Advil” with a close second “did you see where my ball went.”
The parents had a great time and truly appreciate the opportunity to be on the trip. For this we thank Coach Pete who has done a great job taking the golf program at Washington & Lee to the next level. After playing with some of the talented freshman, it is clear that the golf team will be much stronger and even more competitive in the years to come.
We were fortunate to have Andy Howell, an alumni and supporter of W&L golf, attend the trip. He and other alumni were instrumental in making this trip a reality. I believe alumni like Andy are an inspiration to current team members to stay connected and give back after they graduate. It was also great to have Professor Shay on the trip who is the academic advisor for the team. I personally have heard a lot of Professor Shay stories from my son over the last 4 years and it was fun spending time with him and understanding why he is such a respected (and fun) faculty member. The freshman parents especially enjoyed Professor Shay’s perspective on how to take advantage of the many opportunities that W&L has to offer.
We wish the team the luck of the Irish this upcoming season.
Thanks again Coach Pete and everyone who made this trip a reality.
Dave Sowinski and the Golf Team Dads