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July 25, 2013

Savana Bezdicek Summer in Asia - Final Blog

TRIP ITINERARY  I  TRIP PHOTOS

BLOG #5 – July 21

Not to sound cliché, but this trip was honestly a once in a lifetime adventure, and the memories I made will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can't imagine singing karaoke in Korea or spending nights in downtown Hong Kong with a different group of girls. It is amazing how much you learn about people when you are with them 24/7 for over three weeks straight. I love them dearly for the fun times we have all shared together. I will forever be thankful for this opportunity and I feel honored to have been invited to be a part of this team. It is truly special that a sport can bring people together to share time, talent and adventures around the world. For a complete and final recap of the trip, visit the blog link at www.ncaaallstargolf.com.

 

BLOG #4 – July 14

Hong Kong was absolutely INCREDIBLE! If I could go back to one of the countries, I would choose Hong Kong in a heartbeat. When I would think that one day was the best of the trip, the next day would top it. 

Our time in this country was filled with sunny golf days, boat rides, and living a tourist life. One of the nights, a sponsor took us to dinner by boat to Llama Island for a fresh seafood dinner. When I say fresh, it was FRESH. We were able to hold one of the fish by a rope before we ate it, and had several other dishes including lobster and escargot. One of my favorite days was when we golfed at Discovery Bay Golf Club. We took a ferry to the island where the golf course is located, and the views of the golf course, over the bay, were unbelievable. I've never been to Hawaii, but I imagine that some of the views from the golf course would rival those in Hawaii. On one of our last days, a daughter of one of the sponsors took us out on their family yacht, where we went wakeboarding, jet skiing, and swimming in Deep Water Bay. It was one of the most surreal days I have ever had. I will most likely never get the chance to go jet skiing around a Hong Kong bay again in my whole life. We ended the week playing at Hong Kong Country Club, one of the oldest courses in Asia. I played well and ended my Asian tour adventure with a birdie on the 18th hole.

 

BLOG #3 – July 6 

Our week in Korea consisted of a lot of shopping compared to the amount of golf we played. One of our tournament days was rained out, and another day we stopped before we finished the round because of the rain as well. For the third tournament round, my team won, this was an awesome way to end my golf adventure in Korea. We had several wonderful Korean BBQ dinners. We spent some time in Gangnam (yes, the Gangnam that Psy sings about). It is an extremely nice part of Korea, with new buildings and lots of fancy places to eat. From Korea, I will remember mostly the food and the shopping. The way they golf in Korea is interesting, because they are notorious for slow play. They normally stop every 4 or 5 holes to take a break for water or snacks. They also have self-driving golf carts and caddies for our rounds. Korean golf is as far from college-style golf as we could possibly get.

 

BLOG #2 - July 2

Sugadaira Green Golf was the last course we played while we were in Japan. I loved it because we were up in the mountains so it was a lot like golfing in Flagstaff. That course is the highest course in all of Japan. I had the best time there because of how the staff treated us. When we ate in the dining room, we were all served like royalty. They brought our food out on a cart and just kept bringing one plate after another. One of the nights a Japanese mayor sat at my table.

We played Nakayama Golf Club earlier in the week and it was quite an experience. They had women caddies in blue and yellow uniforms that pushed our group's four golf bags on a motorized push cart. It was the most unusual caddy situation I have ever experienced. They cleaned our clubs down the fairway between shots and our balls on the putting green. The course reminded me a lot of the coastal courses in Oregon and Washington, which made me feel at home.

When Japanese people play golf, they play nine holes first, come in for an hour or so for lunch, go back out and finish the last nine holes, go to the locker rooms to shower, and then meet back up with their group to drink and eat another meal. It was really cool getting the whole legitimate golf experience.

Camp Zama Golf Course and Atsugi Golf Course were the two military courses that we've played so far, Army and Navy, respectively.

We have been able to have some incredible tourist adventures since we've been here. We were able to visit a US Navy base and be on the runway with the squadron of jets. It is unexplainable how loud they are. After all, they do travel faster than the speed of sound. I played with two Navy men and they gave me their real Navy coins. They are some of the coolest gifts I have ever received from someone.

On a different day during our week in Japan, went to a US Army training center where soldiers practice shooting on a simulator. We were actually able to do exactly what they do in the simulation room. I got to shoot a pistol, a machine gun, an m16, and a grenade launcher. The machine gun was so much heavier than I expected. I liked the m16 and the grenade launcher the best.

An afternoon of our trip was spent sightseeing in Tokyo. We visited a temple and explored all of the little food stands and shops. Japanese people are really into cell phone charms, they were at so many shops. Even grown men have them on their phones, it's not just something for little girls to do. We also looked around this place called Ginza. It's an underground mall of extremely expensive food. One of the melons we saw in the "designer fruit" section was priced at $108 in US dollars.

We also went to visit the famous Great Buddha statue. It was cool, but not as amazing as the temple we went to go visit next. We spent 300 yen, about $3, to visit the Hasadera Temple just south of the Buddha. It was one of the best things I have ever spent money on. Not only were the temples amazing, but there were koi ponds and a cave and a hike to enjoy as well. The hike was easily one of my Top 5 nature things I've ever done. We hiked up flights and flights and more flights of stairs through hydrangeas and bamboo and trees to a view of the city overlooking the ocean.

Overall, I am in love with Japan. Everything is so clean here and the people are unbelievably friendly. From the week I've spent here, I feel like its a mix between the beaches of Northern California, the trees and climate of Oregon, the mountains of Washington, and the city streets of New York. It is such a strange place that combines all of these things, and I could honestly see myself visiting there again one day.

 

BLOG #1 - June 23

"The trip so far has been awesome. We stayed at our chaperone's house for a few days while we were in LA. It was like living in a Spanish mansion. We played a charity tournament at Palos Verdes Golf Club.

We visited the naval base yesterday after our round of golf. We got to go to the runway where the jets are parked in preparation to take off onto aircraft carriers and practice their landings. It was one of the coolest experiences ever.

One of the girls is doing blog updates on www.ncaaallstargolf.com. It's more of a general about what were doing on the trip. That should help with the updates since I can't get on wifi too often with my phone.

I don't have any pictures yet, they're all on my digital camera. I'll try to take more with my phone so I can post them!

Savana


ORIGINAL STORY

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona women's golfer Savana Bezdicek will have a bit a of an unorthodox summer break this year. The sophomore standout was one of 10 women named to the 30th NCAA All-Star Women's Golf Team and will travel to Asia to compete in 13 tournaments over the course of 24 days.

"I'm really excited and very grateful to have been given the opportunity to see another part of the world," said Bezdicek, a native of Spokane, Wash. "It is amazing how many doors that sports can open for people, and I'm extremely lucky to have been chosen for this trip."

The team arrives in Los Angeles June 18 to play in the NCAA All-Star Invitational at Palos Verdes Golf Club the following day. The 10 golfers depart for Tokyo on June 20, beginning a nearly month-long tour through Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. The group is scheduled to return to the United States on July 12.

"It doesn't even sound real when I tell people that I will be going to Asia for a month to play golf, and it hasn't quite sunk in yet," Bezdicek added. "I'm looking forward to seeing what the golf courses there are like, as well as just the experience of all of the countries, especially the food."

This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the NCAA All-Star team making the trek across the Pacific Ocean. Bezdicek now belongs to an elite group of All-Star program alumni that includes LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam and current Big Break Mexico competitor Emily Talley, among many others.

Bezdicek will chronicle her travails through Asia with a blog post every few days, which fans can follow on NAUAthletics.com.