Jan. 24, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa women’s golfer Kristi Cardwell managed to scratch off a bucket list item on a recent trip to California without any prior planning.
Over winter break, Cardwell traveled to California with her boyfriend and his family. While in the Sunshine State, her boyfriend’s uncle surprised the family with tee times at one of the most famous golf courses in the world; Pebble Beach Golf Links.
“It was a complete surprise,” Cardwell said. “I didn’t even have my clubs with me because we weren’t going to play golf. We had to rent clubs and I even had to buy some golf clothes.”
Pebble Beach, located on the Pacific Ocean coast in California, has been selected as the No. 1 golf course in America by numerous publications. It has hosted five U.S. Open championships and plays host to the PGA TOUR’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am every year.
The views of the ocean along Pebble Beach are still vivid images in Cardwell’s mind.
“The overall views of the course were amazing,” Cardwell said. “I’m from Indiana so I don’t get to see the ocean very often. The opportunity to play a course like that, with those views, was pretty incredible.”
Cardwell’s tee-time was on New Year’s Day. Her first round of 2013 was at arguably the best course in America and she carded an eagle on her first hole of the year.
“I guess I started my year off right,” Cardwell said. “On the first hole, I holed out from 150 yards for an eagle. Getting an eagle at Pebble Beach was a really good way to start the year.”
Cardwell found time for a vacation over winter break between countless hours spent on fine-tuning her game for the upcoming spring season. The Kokomo, Ind., native drove an hour to Indianapolis numerous times to train at an indoor facility over break.
“I drove to the facility a lot,” Cardwell said. “I worked really hard on improving my game. The facility had heated hitting bays that opened up to the outside, so I could really work on my swing.”
California wasn’t the only state that Cardwell visited during winter break. Cardwell and her father, Byron, went on a road trip to find green grass and sunshine.
“My dad and I decided we were going to drive until we found warm weather,” Cardwell said. “We ended up in Georgia. We played a lot of golf over a four-day span and that way really nice. I practiced on my short game and we just filled our days with golf.”
Cardwell, fresh off a break filled with golf training and lifelong memories at Pebble Beach, is ready to attack her final spring season as a Hawkeye.
“Our overall goal is to make it to NCAA Regionals,” Cardwell said. “In order to achieve that goal, we need to take small steps. We need to go round-by-round, improving our averages at each tournament. That will lead us to a higher ranking and hopefully to the NCAA Tournament.”