Mixing school with golf on the state's best courses
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It's not a bad way to spend the college years. Play almost every day at one of the top ten collegiate courses in America designed by legend Alister MacKenzie. To top it off, you travel everywhere across America and even to the Caribbean for collegiate tournaments.
And this can all be done on the University's dime?
University of Michigan senior Jimmy Wisinski and thousands of other collegiate golfers prove once and for all that those who actually pay for golf travel are suckers.
Here, Wisinski chimes in on everything from the best courses he's visited in his travels to his feelings on college team play, or lack there of.
TG: Where should four college kids go for a golf trip?
Wisinski: Four college kids should pile into a car and make the trip to Pinehurst, North Carolina. Pinehurst No. 2 and every other course in the Sandhills of North Carolina are great. Plus you are close to the "triangle" and that means a lot of college towns and great night life.
TG: In your travels amongst the college ranks, what's been your favorite course/college town to visit?
Wisinski: My favorite course we played was Rio Mar Country Club in Puerto Rico. It's not a college home course but it hosts a great college tournament we play in during spring break.
TG: In general, what is the best golf trip you've gone on and what made it so memorable?
Wisinski: The best trip I have ever been on was upon completion of my senior year in high school. My dad took me to Ireland for a week as a graduation present. It was more than just golf; it was a great experience to share with your father, especially before you move away to college.
TG: Is there anywhere you must play in your lifetime?
Wisinski: Oversees I will plat St. Andrews some day. It is a must for all golfers to play at the home of golf. In the United States it is Augusta National. I have attended the Masters Golf Tournament a few times and that is a very special place.
TG: Is there any better golf in America than in northern Michigan in your opinion?
Wisinski: No, there might be some golf resorts and courses that are better known but Northern Michigan has a type of course that all can enjoy. From Treetops to Boyne the entire northern part of the state is a golfer's dream.
TG: What do you think of the college team format? Do you think this format would be better in deciding the Ryder Cup or other professional team events? I mean who plays "Alternate Shot" anymore?
Wisinski: Actually, the Ryder Cup and alternate shot are more team oriented. I mean that the results depend on everyone and it truly is a team. College golf is a team event too, but only in the aspect of at the end of the day all four of the top five scores on your team are added up. The Ryder Cup is a great format. My sophomore year we played a Ryder Cup style event at Oakland Hills versus the Scottish National team. That was a great experience. In my opinion the Ryder Cup and the format is only being questioned because of the dismal performances turned in by the U.S. lately.
TG: If you could choose your own home course, which would it be?
Wisinski: Oakland Hills. This course offers everything from demanding tee shots, length, to some of the most severe greens in the world. Like Ben Hogan called it "the monster" it may not be as difficult as it was in his day, but the course stands the test of time for me and I could play it everyday of my life and be very, very happy.
TG: What happens to golf when you graduate? Recreation or will you try and pursue it?
Wisinski: I will try and pursue it. I feel that I owe that much to myself. I have put so much work into it that I will always pursue my dream. If I do not make it, I will work or attend law school, but I will always have golf on the mind and work on my game. Some players peak well after graduation and some before. Hopefully I can just peak at the right time, because I know I have the talent. If one has talent in a specific thing then they owe it to themselves to use it and not waste it.
February 4, 2005