Women's Golf |
April 18, 2012
By Joseph Gryniewski
If you were to take a look down the roster of UC's women's golf team, you would find a trend common in collegiate sports. The roster features local recruits, with the majority of the team coming from Ohio and its neighbors Kentucky and Indiana. It's not a surprise that universities frequently look to their local communities for athletes they can recruit to their programs. However, the women's golf squad at the University of Cincinnati is a bit different. Something interesting sticks out from the rosters, and it's the names of Fredricka Winqvist, Maria Roos, Andrea Malek and Olivia Dose, all of whom hail from Sweden. These four ladies made the choice to travel over 4,000 miles to the University of Cincinnati, and to leave their homeland behind, to play golf in America.
This must have been a tough decision for these ladies to make, and after returning from their trip to UC's annual golf tournament in Florida; Maria, Olivia and Andrea reflected on their decision to move across the big blue.
Each of the four had a different journey to America. Malek and Dose enlisted help from an organization that specializes in helping young teens transfer into American colleges.
"I couldn't even imagine where I would have been if it weren't for them, it's all about contacts, and they handled it all," Malek said. "You need at least two years to prepare if you want to come over."
Dose described the process of being accepted into the NCAA as a strenuous one, filled with tests and interviews.
Roos, however, took it upon herself to make sure she caught the eye of the NCAA. She sent out letters to coaches, made phone calls, and invited scouts to visit Sweden to watch her play.
Coming to America had always been the goal, and they weren't going to let those hurdles keep them from playing golf in the US.
"My goal was always to come over," said Malek. "My family knew it would be a great experience for me, and it would help give me more job opportunities back in Sweden."
Overseas, there is a national ranking system in which the golfers in the top tier are called "elite" and each of the foursome was ranked as "elites" before coming to the United States.
That is not the only difference between golf in America and Sweden, as the sport is played far differently in Sweden than it is here.
"We don't play high school sports in Sweden, and when you play golf you compete individually, not as a team," Malek said. "That was probably the hardest thing, realizing it's no longer just me playing, I have four other people with me."
Sweden also forces the golfers to play within their respective ranks, so different skill levels cannot compete against each other.
"It's just different because here everyone is all thrown together, and over there you only play with players of your own skill level," added Dose.
That isn't the only difference the girls have noticed during their time in America.
"I feel like golfers here know more about the game," Dose said. "Here there is less working on specific golf technique and it's more about working out. Here you will play 36 holes straight without a break and over there we would get an hour lunch break in between."
The ladies happily mentioned that here they have a much more lenient diet, and that they are allowed to do as they wish as long as "the ball goes in the hole."
Upon arrival to America they found the culture of the US, and the sport of golf, to be far different from what they were accustomed to back in Sweden. They are soaking up their time here and enjoying every minute of it.
"We love it here. Everyone is just so nice," Maled said. "UC is such a great school, and I'm happy I chose a school with a great coach. I basically got everything I wanted. It is like a movie here, it's so cool." She reflected on the first time she walked into a UC football game. "There was more people in the stadium than in my entire town. My whole town could fit into this stadium, how sick is that?"
The foursome is loving the time in America and have traveled all over the states. The golf team this year alone has made its rounds through New Mexico, Arizona and much of the state of Florida. Their whirlwind tour around the US has kept their experience fun, fresh and exciting. They will happily tell you, the University of Cincinnati is quickly beginning to feel like their home nearly 4,000 miles away.