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Inside look at the Raiders' recent trip to Hawaii

Men's golf has incredible experience on the island

November 12, 2013 · by Brett Patterson

PHOTO GALLERY

Middle Tennessee junior Brett Patterson recaps the Blue Raiders' recent trip to Hawaii.

Thursday, October 31
After over 12 hours of travel time, we finally arrived in Hawaii today. Our first stop was in Salt Lake City, Utah, where we had nearly a two-hour layover prior to the flight to Honolulu. The plane to Salt Lake was your basic commercial setting with three seats on either side of the aisle. Being that it was so early, my teammates and I had no trouble passing the time of the three-hour flight through sleep. Upon landing in Utah, we all ate lunch and passed time doing various things before taking the mammoth plane to paradise. Luckily, the six-hour flight to Honolulu offered a variety of entertainment options through movies, TV shows, music, etc. All of the guys watched a movie or two to help pass the time, and once we landed, we all agreed that the flight there seemed like a bit of a blur. The airport at Honolulu was definitely different than your typical international airport. The majority of it was open air, and there was almost a mini-mall just outside security that featured stores like Coach, Prada, and Ralph Lauren. None of us college players could afford those things, so we breezed right on past those and headed to baggage claim. Once we got our bags and rental cars, we left for the resort we're staying at for two nights. The drive here took nearly an hour, but the traffic was awful. I was surprised at how busy and crowded the city of Honolulu was. Once we neared the resort, however, the island seemed to transition into a more peaceful, relaxed setting. We're staying at the JW Marriot at Ko Olina, and boy we are getting spoiled right now! Our room view is right over a bay looking out into the ocean. This place is better than I or any of my teammates could have imagined. Now, I think all of us are looking forward to chasing the white ball around tomorrow at the resort course. It's been a long day, but hey, I saw the sun set in Hawaii. Life is good.

Friday, November 1
It has been yet another full day, but one of the coolest in my life. Today, we woke up at 4:30 in order to stand in line for a ticket to see the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. We were the first in line to see a piece of American history. The views overlooking the harbor were astonishing, and trying to imagine what occurred there over 70 years ago was mind blowing. There were displays and signs all explaining events that happened prior, during, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After seeing the memorial, we drove to the north shore of Honolulu to watch a surf competition. The surfers in the competition were riding waves as tall as 10-12', which were taller than any wave I had ever seen. The team walked along the shore for a while, and the sand was much more grainy and thick than the sand at a Florida beach. We stayed at the beach for nearly an hour or so, but for the first time in Hawaii, it was time to tee it up. We played the Ko Olina course next to the hotel we were staying in, and the team enjoyed a good match between three, two-man teams. The team and I all seemed to pick up where we left off at the mainland, and we played solid. I can already tell it is going to be a great week for the team.

Saturday, November 2
The team and I woke up early this morning to take the puddle jumper over to Kauai Island, where we will be until Wednesday afternoon. The flight over here took maybe 30 minutes, and it was no problem getting through security at Honolulu airport. The plane sat approximately 60-70 people, which was more than any of us anticipated. Once we arrived in Kauai, I could tell the scenery was going to be even better than at Honolulu. I was told they filmed Jurassic Park, Hawaii Five-O, and Lost here at this island, and I can tell why! Kauai Island is more mountainous and lush than Honolulu. The van ride over to the resort took nearly 45 minutes, and once we arrived, we checked into our rooms then headed straight to the course. Today we played the other course here at Princeville Resort, called the Prince Course. It was a tough test, and I heard one of my teammates say it was ranked in Golf Digest as number 22 "Places to Play" in all of America. The views out on the course were awesome, and I couldn't stop taking pictures. After playing, we ate at a restaurant called the Hanalei Dolphin. As with everything in Hawaii, the food was extremely expensive, but it was definitely the best meal we have had thus far on the trip. Everyone ordered some type of seafood, and we left the restaurant ready for bed! All in all it was a very productive day in terms of preparation for the tournament since the course provided the opportunity to hit many different shots, and everyone seems to be settling into the new environment well. Tomorrow is a practice round at the tournament course, and we're all looking forward to seeing what is ahead of us the rest of the week.

Sunday, November 3
Our practice round was at 11:30 this morning, so the team had a chance to catch up on some sleep if need be. We arrived at the course around 10 to practice a bit before our tee time. The views yesterday at the Prince Course were gorgeous, but the views at Makai did not fail to impress either. The course itself is in phenomenal shape. The greens feature a different grass than the team is used to but they roll extremely well. The only adjustment was getting used to the speed, as they are a little slower than greens we typically play on in tournaments. Even if the team hits a rough stretch of holes, it will be hard to get too stressed out with all the amazing views we have around us. The course offers a great chance to make some birdies, and we're feeling ready and confident to get out there and compete. Once the round was over we headed back to the rooms to clean up for dinner. Tonight we ate at a local place called Kalypso's. They offered some things we can't get back home, which is what we were hoping for. We're off at 9:30 tomorrow morning with Payne leading the way. We have a great game plan, so now its time to trust in what we've been working on the entire fall. Tomorrow will be a great day.

Monday, November 4
It was a solid day for the team. The wind picked up a little, but we managed it pretty well and were able to post a few good scores. As of now, we are in a good spot and in the mix to beat some good teams over the next two days. Everyone feels like they left a few strokes out there, so we have addressed what we needed to work on and are ready to compete yet again tomorrow. There is plenty of golf left, so we must keep our foot down. Tonight, there was a banquet for the teams at the St. Regis hotel here at the Princeville Resort. The food was somewhat of a Hawaiian theme, and lucky for us, it was a buffet. We all ate a ton and after, we listened to a speech from Al Geiberger, who shot a 59 at Colonial in Memphis back in the '70s. The team and I have an early morning tomorrow as we are off at 7:30. Time to get rested up and ready to play.

Tuesday, November 5
Another good round by our team today. I was proud of the guys as we played our last 5 holes at 7 under par. We kept ourselves in play with some good teams, including #27 Arizona State, #15 Baylor, and #42 ETSU. With a good round tomorrow, we can beat some of these teams, and build some momentum heading into the spring. For the first time while on Kauai, we got some time at the beach today after our round. The waves were definitely smaller than the ones seen on the north shore of Honolulu, but the views were better, as the beach was at the base of the mountains. We enjoyed our time hanging out there as it was a good time to relax before a big day tomorrow. As a group, we are staying committed to what we've done so well thus far. It will just be a matter of focusing on one shot at a time and having some fun. Tomorrow will be a blast, and we're more than ready to get out there and enjoy our last day on Kauai.

Wednesday, November 6
What a day for the Blue Raiders! Everyone came together and played hard, and we were able to knock off #15 Baylor and a fellow Tennessee team #42 ETSU. This could be very big in building our resume towards the goal of playing golf in May. Everyone has stayed focused on improving certain parts of our game throughout the fall, and the hard work paid off with a great round today. Now we have some momentum heading into the spring season. Once the round was completed, we had to rush back to the Kauai airport to catch our flight back to Honolulu. Luckily, we made it with just enough time to board our plane for the 30-minute flight. We are staying near the airport here in Honolulu, and after dinner, we all were ready for bed. A long day awaits us tomorrow as we head back to the Boro. What a great trip it has been, and this has been a week that my teammates and I will never forget. We were able to finish the fall season on a high note while enjoying our surroundings in Hawaii. I would like to thank Coach Turnbow and the MT Athletic Department for the opportunity to compete in an awesome place. We were unfortunately without our head coach this week as he was recovering from back surgery, but the team pulled together and was motivated to play well for our coach. Volunteer Assistant David Head and the women's coach Chris Adams did an excellent job for us this week, and I can't thank them enough for their help.

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